The 4.2 ka BP Event in the Mediterranean region: An overview

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Mediterranean region and the Levant have returned some of the clearest evidence of a climatically dry period occurring around 4200 years ago. However, some regional evidence is controversial and contradictory, and issues remain regarding timing, progression, and regional articulation of this event. In this paper, we review the evidence from selected proxies (sea-surface temperature, precipitation, and temperature reconstructed from pollen, δ 18 O on speleothems, and δ 18 O on lacustrine carbonate) over the Mediterranean Basin to infer possible regional climate patterns during the interval between 4.3 and 3.8 ka. The values and limitations of these proxies are discussed, and their potential for furnishing information on seasonality is also explored. Despite the chronological uncertainties, which are the main limitations for disentangling details of the climatic conditions, the data suggest that winter over the Mediterranean involved drier conditions, in addition to already dry summers. However, some exceptions to this prevail - where wetter conditions seem to have persisted - suggesting regional heterogeneity in climate patterns. Temperature data, even if sparse, also suggest a cooling anomaly, even if this is not uniform. The most common paradigm to interpret the precipitation regime in the Mediterranean - a North Atlantic Oscillation-like pattern - is not completely satisfactory to interpret the selected data.


  • Monica Bini
  • Giovanni Zanchetta
  • Aurel Perşoiu
  • Albert Català
  • Isabel Cacho
  • Jonathan R. Dean
  • Federico Di Rita
  • Russell N. Drysdale
  • Martin Finnè
  • Ilaria Isola
  • Bassem Jalali
  • Fabrizio Lirer
  • Donatella Magri
  • Alessia Masi
  • Leszek Marks
  • Anna Maria Mercuri
  • Odile Peyron
  • Laura Sadori
  • Marie Alexandrine Sicre
  • Fabian Welc
  • Christoph Zielhofer
  • Elodie Brisset
External organisations
  • University of Pisa
  • University of Barcelona
  • Sapienza University of Rome
  • University of Melbourne
  • Uppsala University
  • Stockholm University
  • University of Warsaw
  • University of Modena
  • University of Montpellier
  • Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw
  • Leipzig University
  • Rovira i Virgili University (URV)
  • Emil Racoviţǎ Institute Of Speleology Of The Romanian Academy
  • University of Hull
  • Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia
  • Paris-Sorbonne University
  • Istituto di scienze marine (ISMAR)
  • Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geology
  • Climate Research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-577
Number of pages23
JournalClimate of the Past
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 27
Publication categoryResearch