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Pollen-inferred palaeoclimatic patterns in Syria during the Little Ice Age

Le climat du petit âge de glace en Syrie à partir des données polliniques
David Kaniewski and Elise Van Campo
p. 139-144


The alluvial deposits from Jableh (coastal Syria) and the Wadi Jarrah (inland Syria) have provided unique records of environmental history covering the last 1000 years. The pollen-derived climatic proxies inferred from these two cores suggest that a shift towards drier conditions started during the early 15th century AD. The main dry and cool interval recorded both in coastal and inland Syria occurred from ca. 1500 to 1850 cal yr AD, a time frame encompassing the Little Ice Age. In Syria, the Little Ice Age is not only cooler, but also much drier than the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the present-day climate. Despite a strong human presence in Syria throughout the last millennia, climate rather than human activities seem to be the driving force behind the natural vegetation dynamics in these regions.

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Full-text article available to subscribers or on a "pay per view" basis. It will be available on this URL in January 2018.
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1 - Syrian sites
1.1 - Jableh
1.2 - Wadi Jarrah
2 - Methods
3 - Results and discussion

First lines

The Little Ice Age (LIA) is a prominent climate shift defined on the basis of glacier advances in Europe, and cooler climate conditions throughout the Northern Hemisphere (GROVE, 2004). The LIA is the most recent Holocene Rapid Climate Change (RCC), as defined by MAYEWSKI et al., (2004). Whilst the term LIA refers to a distinct climate event, occurring over a distinct time period (AD 1550-1850), palaeoclimatic reconstructions reveal a complex spatial and temporal expression of the event, and marked by regional differences, both in in terms of its thermal and hydrological expressions (MANN et al., 2009). Reconstructions of precipitation during the LIA are less frequent than those of temperature. However, the impacts of hydrological changes during RCCs are of major importance in the densely populated Mediterranean basin, which suffers annual or seasonal negative precipitation minus evaporation (P-E) anomalies, and is likely to undergo more frequent droughts in the near future (GIORGI ...

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Electronic reference

David Kaniewski and Elise Van Campo, « Pollen-inferred palaeoclimatic patterns in Syria during the Little Ice Age », Méditerranée [Online], 122 | 2014, Online since 19 June 2016, connection on 19 November 2017. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/mediterranee.7220

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About the authors

David Kaniewski

Université Paul Sabatier-Toulouse, France, EcoLab (Laboratoire d’écologie fonctionnelle et environnement, Institut universitaire de France, Paris,

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Elise Van Campo

Université Paul Sabatier-Toulouse, France, EcoLab (Laboratoire d’écologie fonctionnelle et environnement),

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