The modern climate in Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean is strongly affected by two major climate systems; the North Atlantic/Siberian pressure system in winter and the Indian monsoon in summer. Turkey is therefore ideally situated to study how and to what extent both systems were dynamically linked during the Holocene and late Pleistocene periods. However, due to archive-specific shortcomings, tree ring and lake records have hitherto provided fragmentary information on past climate variability in this area.  As a result, the teleconnection pattern between the North Atlantic/Siberian and monsoon climate systems remains poorly understood.  In order to fill this gap of knowledge, we use speleothems to develop highly resolved, well-dated and long time series of past regional climate variability, which can then be compared to paleoclimate records from the North Atlantic, Europe and the Indian monsoon domain. Furthermore, Turkey has a long cultural history and one intriguing question is whether and to what extent climate contributed to major cultural transformations, such as the Late Bronze Age collapse.  

Key Publications

Jacobson, M.J., Flohr, P., Gascoigne, A., Leng, M.J., Sadekov, A., Cheng, H., Edwards, L.R., Tüysüz, O., Fleitmann, D. (2021). Heterogenous late Holocene climate in the Eastern Mediterranean – the Kocain Cave record from SW Turkey. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, 10.1029/2021GL094733.

Jacobson, M.J., Pickett, J., Gascoigne, A.L., Fleitmann, D., Elton, H. (2022). Settlement, environment, and climate change in SW Anatolia: Dynamics of regional variation and the end of Antiquity. PLOS ONE, 17, 10.1371/journal.pone.0270295.

Koc, K., Kosun, E., Cheng, H., Demirtas, F., Edwards, R.L., Fleitmann, D., 2020. Black carbon traces of human activities in stalagmites from Turkey. Journal of Archaeological Science 123.

Badertscher, S., Borsato, A., Frisia, S., Cheng, H., Edwards, R. L., Tüysüz, O., Fleitmann, D. (2014). Speleothems as sensitive recorders of volcanic eruptions – the Bronze Age Minoan eruption recorded in a stalagmite from Turkey. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 392, 58-65.

Göktürk, O.M., Fleitmann, D., Badertscher, S., Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L., Leuenberger, M., Fankhauser, A., Tüysüz, O., Kramers, J. (2011). Climate on the Southern Black Sea coast during the Holocene: Implications from the Sofular Cave record. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 2433-2445.

Badertscher, S., Fleitmann, D., Cheng, H., Edwards, L., Göktürk, O.M., Zumbühl, A., Leuenberger, M., Tüysüz, O. (2011). Pleistocene water intrusions from the Mediterranean and Caspian Seas into the Black Sea. Nature Geoscience, 4: 236-239.

Fleitmann, D., Cheng, H. Badertscher, S, Göktürk, O.M., Mudelsee, M., Fankhauser, A., Pickering, R., Edwards, R.L., Matter, A., Kramers, J., Tüsyüz, O. (2009). Timing and climatic imprint of Dansgaard-Oeschger events in stalagmites from Northern Turkey, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/2009GL040050.

Further Publications

Erkan, G., Bayari, S., Fleitmann, D., Cheng, H., Edwards, L.R., Oezbakir, M. (2022). Late Pleistocene-Holocene climatic implications of high-resolution isotope profiles of a speleothem from south-central Anatolia. Journal of Quaternary Science, 37, 503-515.

Xoplaki, E., Luterbacher, J., Wagner, S., Zorita, E., Fleitmann, D., Preiser-Kapeller, J., Sargent, A.M., White, S., Toreti, A., Haldon, J.F., Morchedai, L., Bozkurt, D., Akçer-Ön, S., Izdebski, A. (2018). Modelling climate and societal resilience in the Eastern Mediterranean during the last millennium. Human Ecology, 46, 363-371, 1doi: 0.1007/s10745-018-9995-9 

Arz, H. W., Shumilovskikh, L.S., Wegwerth, A., Fleitmann, D., Behling, H. (2015). Environmental and climate dynamics during the last two glacial terminations and interglacials in the Black Sea/Northern Anatolian region. M. Schulz and A. Paul (eds.), Integrated Analysis of Interglacial Climate Dynamics (INTERDYNAMIC), SpringerBriefs in Earth System Sciences, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-00693-2-20.

Manning, S.W., Höflmayer, F., Möller, N., Dee, M.W., Bronk Ramsey, C., Fleitmann, D., Higham, T., Kutschera, W., Wild, E.M. (2014). Dating the Thera (Santorini) eruption: evidence versus poor scholarship, and the end of the low chronology. Antiquity, 88, 1164-1179.

Haldon, J., Roberts, N., Izdebski, A., Fleitmann, D., Ladstätter Cassis, M., Doonan, O., Eastwood, W., Elton, H., S., McCormick, M., Manning, S., Newhard, J., Nichol, K., Telelis, I., Xoplaki, E. (2014). Byzantine Anatolia: a 'laboratory' for the study of climate impacts and socio-environmental relations in the past. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, XLV:2, 113-161.

Schumilovskikh, L.S., Fleitmann, D., Nowaczyk, N.R., Behling, H., Marret, F., Wegwerth, A., Arz, HW. (2014). Orbital and millennial-scale environmental changes between 64 and 25 ka BP recorded in Black Sea sediments. Climate of the Past, 10, 939-945.

Schumilovskikh, L.S., Arz, H.W., Fleitmann, D., Marret, F., Nowaczyk, N., Tarasov, P., Wegwerth, A., Behling, H. (2013). and environmental changes in Northern Anatolia during the penultimate deglaciation and Eemian recorded in Black Sea sediments. Quaternary Research, 80, 349-360.

Shumilovskikh, L.S., Marret, F., Fleitmann, D., Arz, H.W., Nowaczyk, N., Plessen, B., Behling, H. (2013). Eemian and Holocene sea-surface conditions in the southern Black Sea: organic-walled dinoflagellate cyst record from core 22-GC3/3. Marine Micropaleontology, 101, 146-160.

Rudzka, D., McDermott, F., Jackson, A., Fleitmann, D. (2013). Inverse modeling of the 14C bomb pulse in stalagmites to constrain the dynamics of soil carbon cycling at selected European cave sites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 112, 32-51.

Schumilovskikh, L.S., Tarasov, P., Arz, H.W., Fleitmann, D., Schlütz, F., Marret, F., Behling, H. (2012). Vegetation and environmental dynamics in the southern Black Sea region since 18 kyr BP derived from the marine core 22-GC3, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 337-338, 177-193.

Facts & Figures


2018-2022  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) SWW DTP PhD-studentship to Lydia Alice Bowler

2017-2021  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) SWW DTP PhD-studentship to Matthew Jacobson

2011-2015  SNSF Sinergia “STALCLIM” Fleitmann and 5 Co-Investigators

2006-2012  SNSF-Professorship to Dominik Fleitmann

Responsible Scientists

Prof. Dominik Fleitmann
Dr. Stéphane Affolter
Frederick Held
Alistair Morgan
Timon Kipfer