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Increased frequency of torrential rainstorms during a regional late Holocene eastern Mediterranean drought

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 April 2018

Marieke Ahlborn
Affiliation:
Section 5.2: Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
Moshe Armon
Affiliation:
The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Edmond J. Safra Campus – Givat Ram, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel
Yoav Ben Dor
Affiliation:
The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Edmond J. Safra Campus – Givat Ram, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel
Ina Neugebauer
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Geneva, Rue des Maraîchers 13, CH-1205 Genève, Switzerland
Markus J. Schwab
Affiliation:
Section 5.2: Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
Rik Tjallingii
Affiliation:
Section 5.2: Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
Jawad Hasan Shoqeir
Affiliation:
Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Al-Quds University, Abu-Dis, P.O. Box: 89, Jerusalem, Palestine
Efrat Morin
Affiliation:
The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Edmond J. Safra Campus – Givat Ram, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel
Yehouda Enzel
Affiliation:
The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Edmond J. Safra Campus – Givat Ram, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel
Achim Brauer
Affiliation:
Section 5.2: Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
Corresponding

Abstract

Identifying climates favoring extreme weather phenomena is a primary aim of paleoclimate and paleohydrological research. Here, we present a well-dated, late Holocene Dead Sea sediment record of debris flows covering 3.3 to 1.9 cal ka BP. Twenty-three graded layers deposited in shallow waters near the western Dead Sea shore were identified by microfacies analysis. These layers represent distal subaquatic deposits of debris flows triggered by torrential rainstorms over the adjacent western Dead Sea escarpment. Modern debris flows on this escarpment are induced by rare rainstorms with intensities exceeding >30 mm h−1 for at least one hour and originate primarily from the Active Red Sea Trough synoptic pattern. The observed late Holocene clustering of such debris flows during a regional drought indicates an increased influence of Active Red Sea Troughs resulting from a shift in synoptic atmospheric circulation patterns. This shift likely decreased the passages of eastern Mediterranean cyclones, leading to drier conditions, but favored rainstorms triggered by the Active Red Sea Trough. This is in accord with present-day meteorological data showing an increased frequency of torrential rainstorms in regions of drier climate. Hence, this study provides conclusive evidence for a shift in synoptic atmospheric circulation patterns during a late Holocene drought.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2018 

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