Abstract

The rain regime of the Levant during the late Quaternary was controlled primarily by Mediterranean cyclonic systems associated with North Atlantic climate shifts. Lake levels in the Dead Sea basin have been robust recorders of the regional hydrology and generally indicate highstand (wet) conditions throughout glacial intervals and lowstands (dry) during interglacials. However, sporadic deposition of travertines and speleothems occurred in the Negev Desert and Arava Valley during past interglacials, suggesting intrusions of humidity from southern sources probably in association with enhanced activity of mid-latitude Red Sea synoptic troughs and/or low-latitude tropical plumes. The southerly incursions of wetness were superimposed on the long-term interglacial Levantine arid conditions, as reflected by the current prevailing hyperaridity, and could have had an important impact on human migration through the Red Sea–Dead Sea corridor.

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