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Indian summer monsoon variations could have affected the early Holocene woodland expansion in the Near East

Djamali, M., Andrieu-Ponel, V., Ponel, P., de Beaulieu, J. L., Braconnot, P., Lezine, A.-M., Medail, F., Akhani, H., Fleitmann, D., Fleury, J., Gasse, F., Roberts, N. and Stevens, L. (2010) Indian summer monsoon variations could have affected the early Holocene woodland expansion in the Near East. The Holocene, 20 (5). pp. 813-820. ISSN 0959-6836

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0959683610362813


Postglacial expansion of deciduous oak woodlands of the Zagros—Anti-Taurus Mountains, a major biome of the Near East, was delayed until the middle Holocene at ~6300 cal. yr BP. The current hypotheses explain this delay as a consequence of a regional aridity during the early Holocene, slow migration rates of forest trees, and/or a long history of land use and agro-pastoralism in this region. In the present paper, support is given to a hypothesis that suggests different precipitation seasonalities during the early Holocene compared with the late Holocene. The oak species of the Zagros—Anti-Taurus Mts, particularly Quercus brantii Lindl., are strongly dependent on spring precipitation for regeneration and are sensitive to a long dry season. Detailed analysis of modern atmospheric circulation patterns in SW Asia during the late spring suggests that the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) intensification can modify the amount of late spring and/or early summer rainfall in western/northwestern Iran and eastern Anatolia, which could in turn have controlled the development of the Zagros—Anti-Taurus deciduous oak woodlands. During the early Holocene, the northwestward shift of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) could have displaced the subtropical anticyclonic belt or associated high pressure ridges to the northwest. The latter could, in turn, have prevented the southeastward penetration of low pressure systems originating from the North Atlantic and Black Sea regions. Such atmospheric configuration could have reduced or eliminated the spring precipitation creating a typical Mediterranean continental climate characterized by winter-dominated precipitation. This scenario highlights the complexity of biome response to climate system interactions in transitional climatic and biogeographical regions.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:30478
Uncontrolled Keywords:biome; climate change; Indian Summer Monsoon; Near East; North Atlantic Oscillation; Zagros—Anti-Taurus; deciduous oak woodland
Publisher:Sage Publications

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