Caspian sea-level changes during the last millennium: historical and geological evidence from the south Caspian Sea
Historical literature may constitute a valuable source of information to reconstruct sea-level changes. Here, historical documents and geological records have been combined to reconstruct Caspian sea-level (CSL) changes during the last millennium. In addition to a comprehensive literature review, new data from two short sediment cores were obtained from the south-eastern Caspian coast to identify coastal change driven by water-level changes and to compare the results with other geological and historical findings. The overall results indicate a high-stand during the Little Ice Age, up to −21 m (and extra rises due to manmade river avulsion), with a −28 m low-stand during the Medieval Climate Anomaly, while presently the CSL stands at −26.5 m. A comparison of the CSL curve with other lake systems and proxy records suggests that the main sea-level oscillations are essentially paced by solar irradiance. Although the major controller of the long-term CSL changes is driven by climatological factors, the seismicity of the basin creates local changes in base level. These local base-level changes should be considered in any CSL reconstruction.