A new method for the determination of Holocene palaeohydrology
Wade, A. J., Smith, S. J., Black, E. C. L., Brayshaw, D. J., Holmes, P.A.C., El-Bastawesy, M., Rambeau, C. M. C. and Mithen, S. J. (2012) A new method for the determination of Holocene palaeohydrology. Journal of Hydrology, 420-421. pp. 1-16. ISSN 0022-1694
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.10.033
This paper describes a new method for the assessment of palaeohydrology through the Holocene. A palaeoclimate model was linked with a hydrological model, using a weather generator to correct bias in the rainfall estimates, to simulate the changes in the flood frequency and the groundwater response through the late Pleistocene and Holocene for the Wadi Faynan in southern Jordan, a site considered internationally important due to its rich archaeological heritage spanning the Pleistocene and Holocene. This is the first study to describe the hydrological functioning of the Wadi Faynan, a meso-scale (241 km2) semi-arid catchment, setting this description within the framework of contemporary archaeological investigations. Historic meteorological records were collated and supplemented with new hydrological and water quality data. The modelled outcomes indicate that environmental changes, such as deforestation, had a major impact on the local water cycle and this amplified the effect of the prevailing climate on the flow regime. The results also show that increased rainfall alone does not necessarily imply better conditions for farming and highlight the importance of groundwater. The discussion focuses on the utility of the method and the importance of the local hydrology to the sustained settlement of the Wadi Faynan through pre-history and history.