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Cheddadi R, Khater C (2016)
Climate change since the last glacial period in Lebanon and the persistence of Mediterranean species
Quaternary Science Reviews 150 146-157.
In this study, we quantified the mean January temperature (Tjan) and both winter (Pw) and summer (Ps) precipitation from three fossil pollen records from Lebanon. Tjan showed a strong correlation with the global temperature changes retrieved in the NGRIP Greenland ice core. The amplitude of ca. 8 °C between the Younger Dryas (YD) period and the Holocene is coherent with climate reconstructions from the Eastern Mediterranean. The overall amount of precipitation was also lower during the YD than during the Holocene but the contrast between Pw and Ps was much more reduced (less than 2 times) during the YD than during the Holocene (up to 8 times). Such different seasonal contrast compare to the present day is coherent with some climate proxies from the Levant that tend to indicate the presence of moisture during the last glacial period. In effect, the low Pw during the YD reflects the replacement of the forest ecosystem by a more shrubby or herbaceous vegetation. Concomitantly, the occurrence of an amount of precipitation higher than the current one during the summer season, along with a reduced evaporation, due to lower temperature, may have contributed to some local observed high lake levels in the area. During the last glacial period, Lebanon was not under a typical Mediterranean climate such as the one we know today, i.e. with a strong precipitation and temperature contrast between summer and winter seasons, but rather under a less contrasted climate. Mediterranean species persisted in this area due to the low amplitude of temperature change between the last glacial period and the Holocene as well as to an availability of moisture throughout the year instead of an occurrence mainly during the winter season as is the case today.
Keywords: Holocene, Lebanon, Mediterranean, Quaternary climate, Refugia, Younger Dryas