Articles | Volume 9, issue 4
Clim. Past, 9, 1645–1665, 2013
Clim. Past, 9, 1645–1665, 2013

Research article 29 Jul 2013

Research article | 29 Jul 2013

Caspian sea-level changes during the last millennium: historical and geological evidence from the south Caspian Sea

A. Naderi Beni1, H. Lahijani2, R. Mousavi Harami1, K. Arpe3,4, S. A. G. Leroy4, N. Marriner5, M. Berberian6, V. Andrieu-Ponel7, M. Djamali7, A. Mahboubi1, and P. J. Reimer8 A. Naderi Beni et al.
  • 1Geology Department, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
  • 2Marine Geology Department, Iranian National Institute for Oceanography (INIO), Tehran, Iran
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 4Institute for the Environment, Brunel University, UB8 3PH Uxbridge, London, UK
  • 5Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, CEREGE, UMR6635 – IRD, CEREGE, UMR161 – Collège de France, CEREGE, 13545 Aix en Provence cedex 4, France
  • 6School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ 08754-2001, USA
  • 7Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie UMR7263 CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université – Europôle Méditerranéen de l'Arbois – Pavillon Villemin – BP 80, 13545 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 04, France
  • 8School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK

Abstract. Historical literature may constitute a valuable source of information to reconstruct sea-level changes. Here, historical documents and geological records have been combined to reconstruct Caspian sea-level (CSL) changes during the last millennium. In addition to a comprehensive literature review, new data from two short sediment cores were obtained from the south-eastern Caspian coast to identify coastal change driven by water-level changes and to compare the results with other geological and historical findings. The overall results indicate a high-stand during the Little Ice Age, up to −21 m (and extra rises due to manmade river avulsion), with a −28 m low-stand during the Medieval Climate Anomaly, while presently the CSL stands at −26.5 m. A comparison of the CSL curve with other lake systems and proxy records suggests that the main sea-level oscillations are essentially paced by solar irradiance. Although the major controller of the long-term CSL changes is driven by climatological factors, the seismicity of the basin creates local changes in base level. These local base-level changes should be considered in any CSL reconstruction.