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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-161
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-161
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Dec 2018

Research article | 06 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Blocking induced by the strengthened Siberian High led to drying in west Asia during the 4.2 ka BP event – a hypothesis

Aurel Perşoiu1,2, Monica Ionita3, and Harvey Weiss4 Aurel Perşoiu et al.
  • 1Emil Racoviţă Institute of Speleology, Romanian Academy, Cluj Napoca, 400006, Romania
  • 2Stable Isotope Laboratory, Ştefan cel Mare University, Suceava, 720229, Romania
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, 27570, Germany
  • 4School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, USA

Abstract. Causal explanations for the 4.2 ka BP event are based on the amalgamation of seasonal and annual records of climate variability manifest across global regions dominated by different climatic regimes. However, instrumental and paleoclimate data indicate that seasonal climate variability is not always sequential in some regions. The present study investigates the spatial manifestation of the 4.2 ka BP event during the boreal winter season in Eurasia, where climate variability is a function of the spatio-temporal dynamics of the westerly winds. We present a multi-proxy reconstruction of winter climate conditions in Europe, west Asia and northern Africa between 4.3 and 3.8 ka BP using. Our results show that, while winter temperatures were cold throughout the region, precipitation amounts had a heterogeneous distribution, with regionally significant low values in W Asia, SE and N Europe and local high values in the N Balkan Peninsula, the Carpathian Mountains, and E and NE Europe. Further, strong northerly winds were dominating in the Middle East, and E and NE Europe. Analyzing the relationships between these climatic conditions, we hypothesize that in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere, the 4.2 ka BP event was caused by the strengthening and expansion of the Siberian High, which effectively blocked the moisture-carrying westerlies from reaching W Asia, and enhanced outbreaks of cold and dry winds in that region. The antiphase behavior of the winter and summer monsoons suggests that when parts of Asia and Europe were experiencing winter droughts, SE Asia was experiencing similar summer droughts, resulting from failed and/or reduced monsoons. Thus, while in the extratropical regions of Eurasia the 4.2 ka BP event was a century-scale winter phenomenon, in the monsoon-dominated regions it may have been a feature of summer climate conditions.

Aurel Perşoiu et al.
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We present a reconstruction of winter climate around 4.2 ka cal BP in Europe, W Asia and N Africa, that shows generally low temperatures and heterogeneously-distributed precipitation amounts. We hypothesize that in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere the 4.2 ka BP event was caused by the strengthening and expansion of the Siberian High, which effectively blocked the moisture-carrying westerlies from reaching W Asia and also resulted in outbreaks of northerly cold and dry winds.
We present a reconstruction of winter climate around 4.2 ka cal BP in Europe, W Asia and N...
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