Climate on the southern Black Sea coast during the Holocene: Implications from the Sofular Cave record

O. M. Göktürk, D. Fleitmann, S. Badertscher, H. Cheng, R. L. Edwards, M. Leuenberger, A. Fankhauser, O. Tüysüz, J. Kramers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


We present the updated Holocene section of the Sofular Cave record from the southern Black Sea coast (northern Turkey); an area with considerably different present-day climate compared to that of the neighboring Eastern Mediterranean region. Stalagmite δ13C, growth rates and initial (234U/238U) ratios provide information about hydrological changes above the cave; and prove to be more useful than δ18O for deciphering Holocene climatic variations. Between ∼9.6 and 5.4 ka BP (despite a pause from ∼8.4 to 7.8 ka BP), the Sofular record indicates a remarkable increase in rainfall amount and intensity, in line with other paleoclimate studies in the Eastern Mediterranean. During that period, enhanced summertime insolation either produced much stronger storms in the following fall and winter through high sea surface temperatures, or it invoked a regional summer monsoon circulation and rainfall. We suggest that one or both of these climatic mechanisms led to a coupling of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean rainfall regimes at that time, which can explain the observed proxy signals. However, there are discrepancies among the Eastern Mediterranean records in terms of the timing of this wet period; implying that changes were probably not always occurring through the same mechanism. Nevertheless, the Sofular Cave record does provide hints and bring about new questions about the connection between regional and large scale climates, highlighting the need for a more extensive network of high quality paleoclimate records to better understand Holocene climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2433-2445
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number19-20
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Black Sea
  • Climate
  • Holocene
  • Mediterranean
  • Monsoon
  • Sapropel
  • Sea surface temperature
  • Seasonality
  • Stalagmite
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Archeology
  • Geology


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