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Cold and dry outbreaks in the eastern Mediterranean 3200 years ago

(2019) GEOLOGY. 47(10). p.933-937
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Abstract
Can climate affect societies? This question, of both past and present importance, is encapsulated by the major socioeconomic crisis that affected the Mediterranean 3200 yr ago. The demise of the core civilizations of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age and the early Iron Age (Dark Ages) is still controversial because it raises the question of climate-change impacts on ancient societies. Although evidence for this climate shift has gradually gained currency, recent attempts to quantify its magnitude remain equivocal. Here we focus on the northern Levant (coastal Syria) where the economic, political, and cultural changes were particularly acute. We quantify past climate changes and find that mean annual temperatures attained anomalies of –2.3 ± 0.3 °C to –4.8 ± 0.4 °C compared to present-day conditions. Rainfall regimes displayed an important shift in seasonality, with a 40% decrease in winter precipitation. A 300 yr period of dry and cool climate started ~3200 yr ago and was coeval with deep social changes in the eastern Mediterranean. These “Little Ice Age”–type conditions affected harvests, leading to severe food shortages that probably aggravated the sociopolitical tensions. This crisis highlights the fragility of societies, both past and present, to major climate-change episodes and their broader consequences.
Keywords
Geology, Archaeoloy, climate change, Late Bronze Age, 3200 yr ago, Eastern Mediterranean, Tell Tweini, Syria

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Kaniewski, David, et al. “Cold and Dry Outbreaks in the Eastern Mediterranean 3200 Years Ago.” GEOLOGY, vol. 47, no. 10, 2019, pp. 933–37.
APA
Kaniewski, D., Marriner, N., Cheddadi, R., Morhange, C., Bretschneider, J., Jans, G., … Van Campo, E. (2019). Cold and dry outbreaks in the eastern Mediterranean 3200 years ago. GEOLOGY, 47(10), 933–937.
Chicago author-date
Kaniewski, David, Nick Marriner, Rachid Cheddadi, Christophe Morhange, Joachim Bretschneider, Greta Jans, Thierry Otto, Frédéric Luce, and Elise Van Campo. 2019. “Cold and Dry Outbreaks in the Eastern Mediterranean 3200 Years Ago.” GEOLOGY 47 (10): 933–37.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Kaniewski, David, Nick Marriner, Rachid Cheddadi, Christophe Morhange, Joachim Bretschneider, Greta Jans, Thierry Otto, Frédéric Luce, and Elise Van Campo. 2019. “Cold and Dry Outbreaks in the Eastern Mediterranean 3200 Years Ago.” GEOLOGY 47 (10): 933–937.
Vancouver
1.
Kaniewski D, Marriner N, Cheddadi R, Morhange C, Bretschneider J, Jans G, et al. Cold and dry outbreaks in the eastern Mediterranean 3200 years ago. GEOLOGY. 2019;47(10):933–7.
IEEE
[1]
D. Kaniewski et al., “Cold and dry outbreaks in the eastern Mediterranean 3200 years ago,” GEOLOGY, vol. 47, no. 10, pp. 933–937, 2019.
@article{8625641,
  abstract     = {Can climate affect societies? This question, of both past and present importance, is encapsulated by the major socioeconomic crisis that affected the Mediterranean 3200 yr ago. The demise of the core civilizations of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age and the early Iron Age (Dark Ages) is still controversial because it raises the question of climate-change impacts on ancient societies. Although evidence for this climate shift has gradually gained currency, recent attempts to quantify its magnitude remain equivocal. Here we focus on the northern Levant (coastal Syria) where the economic, political, and cultural changes were particularly acute. We quantify past climate changes and find that mean annual temperatures attained anomalies of –2.3 ± 0.3 °C to –4.8 ± 0.4 °C compared to present-day conditions. Rainfall regimes displayed an important shift in seasonality, with a 40% decrease in winter precipitation. A 300 yr period of dry and cool climate started ~3200 yr ago and was coeval with deep social changes in the eastern Mediterranean. These “Little Ice Age”–type conditions affected harvests, leading to severe food shortages that probably aggravated the sociopolitical tensions. This crisis highlights the fragility of societies, both past and present, to major climate-change episodes and their broader consequences.},
  author       = {Kaniewski, David and Marriner, Nick and Cheddadi, Rachid and Morhange, Christophe and Bretschneider, Joachim and Jans, Greta and Otto, Thierry and Luce, Frédéric and Van Campo, Elise},
  issn         = {0091-7613},
  journal      = {GEOLOGY},
  keywords     = {Geology,Archaeoloy,climate change,Late Bronze Age,3200 yr ago,Eastern Mediterranean,Tell Tweini,Syria},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  pages        = {933--937},
  title        = {Cold and dry outbreaks in the eastern Mediterranean 3200 years ago},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/g46491.1},
  volume       = {47},
  year         = {2019},
}

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