Temperature, precipitation, and vegetation changes in the Eastern Mediterranean over the last deglaciation and Dansgaard-Oeschger events

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


  • Mona Stockheke
  • Achim Bechtel
  • Francien Peterse
  • Typhaine Guillemont
  • Carsten J. Schubert

Organisational units

External Organisational units

  • Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich
  • Universiteit Utrecht
  • Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology


We here estimate past temperature and hydroclimate variations in eastern Anatolia for marine isotope stages 4 to 1 (MIS4 to MIS1) respectively using branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) and the hydrogen isotopic composition of n-C 29 leaf-wax n-alkanes (δ 2H wax) stored in the sedimentary record of Lake Van (Turkey). Our millennial-scale lipid biomarker records reflect warm and wet conditions during interstadials/interglacials and colder and dryer periods with increased evapotranspiration and aridity during stadials/glacials. The degree of methylation of the 5-methyl brGDGTs (MBT´ 5me) indicates increasing mean annual air temperatures (MAT) during stadial/interstadial transitions, that characterize Dansgaard-Oeschger events, and during the last glacial termination. Based on the effects of changes in precipitation amount on apparent enrichment factors between the δ 2H of the C 29 n-alkanes and δ 2H of precipitation, a total increase in annual precipitation of about 200 mm during transitions from stadials to interstadials, and of 300–350 mm during glacial-interglacial transitions can be determined, in line with previous paleoclimate reconstructions for the Eastern Mediterranean. High sterol concentrations in sediments deposited during warm and humid interstadials reflect increases in lake level, vegetation density and algal blooms, whereas lower values of the branched versus isoprenoid tetraethers ratio (BIT) likely reflects the increased niche of Thaumarchaeota resulting from enhanced windiness and mixing of the water column during colder periods. This quantitative hydroclimate reconstruction from Lake Van (Turkey), as it is optimally situated to respond to North Atlantic climate change via changes in the large-scale wind fields shed light into millennial-scale global climate variability.


Original languageEnglish
Article number110535
JournalPalaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021