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Late Quaternary geomorphological and environmental response to rapid hydrological cycles in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco


Foto: Oliver Sturm

The Western Mediterranean is one of the hotspots of current climate change. Increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation lead to significant changes in the hydrological, ecological and geomorphological systems. Regarding Holocene and Late Glacial climatic history, there is strong evidence for multiple sub-millennial to millennial scale climatic deteriorations with intense and abrupt impacts on the environmental systems as well. However, dating inaccuracies, different environmental response mechanisms and thresholds, and insufficient chronological resolution of the different environmental archives lead to many uncertainties in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. In the focus of our planned project is a transect of limnic archives including former lake shorelines and adjacent lower slopes in the Middle and High Atlas, a mountainous margin in the transition zone of Western Mediterranean to Saharan air mass trajectories. With the aid of an interdisciplinary ecological, hydrological and geomorphological proxy approach we want to gain centennial-scale intercalated data to bridge former problems in the interpretation of environmental response mechanisms to climatic changes. In a first field survey and coring campaign (pilot study) we want to evaluate the stratigraphical potential of multiple sites in the Middle and High Atlas, recover high-quality sediment cores and establish the age of the archives. This pilot study will open the way for a second bi-national follow up project, which should be founded by two self-contained but complementary DFG and Natural Environment Research Council UK research proposals focused on geomorphological/hydrological and palaeoecological investigation, respectively.

Funded by DFG (ZI 721/9-1) (since 2012)


Prof. Dr. Christoph Zielhofer

Letzte Änderung: April 25, 2017