Identifying the Climatic Conditions in Iraq by Tracking Down Cooling Events in the North Atlantic Ocean in the Period 3000–0 BC

Open access


North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), monthly averages of precipitation in the Baghdad station, and petrologic tracer proxy data for ocean properties in the North Atlantic (NA) have been used in an attempt to identify climatic conditions in Iraq during the study period. The study showed that contemporary changes in precipitation in Iraq are associated with NAO, as a negative relationship is found between them. Moreover, the study found that there is a strong negative correlation between NAOI and SST in NA, where drift ice indices explain between 33–36% of the NAOI variability.

The prolonged of cold Holocene periods led to a radical oceanography and atmospheric changes in the NA and the Mediterranean Sea, effectively contributing to the prevalence of cold and drought in the EM, including Iraq.

The analysis revealed as many as four intervals of significant cool drought phases prevailing over Iraq during the periods 2650–2500, 2200– 1900,1300–1200 and 1000–850 BC.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Bartov Y Goldstein S Stein M & Enzel Y 2003‘Catastrophic arid episodes in the Eastern Mediterranean linked with the North Atlantic Heinrich events’ Geology vol. 31 no. 5 pp. 439–442.

  • Bond G Kromer B Beer J Muscheler R Evans MN Showers W Hoffmann S Lotti-Bond R Hajdas I & Bonani G 2001‘Persistent solar infuence on north Atlantic climate during the Holocene’ Science vol. 294 pp. 2130–2136.

  • Bond G Kromer B Beer J Muscheler R Evans MN Showers W Hoffmann S Lotti-Bond R Hajdas I & Bonani G 2008 North Atlantic Holocene Drift Ice Proxy Data. IGBP PAGES/ World Data Center for Paleoclimatology Data Contribution Series 2008-018. NOAA/NCDC Paleoclimatology Program Boulder CO USA. Available from: data/paleo/contributions_by_author/bond2001/bond2001. txt” author/bond2001/bond2001.txt>. [22 November 2012].

  • Cullen HM & deMenocal P 2000a‘North Atlantic Infuence on Tigris-Euphrates Streamfow’ International journal of climatology vol. 20 pp. 853–863.

  • Cullen HM deMenocal PB Hemming S Hemming G Brown FH Guilderson T & Sirocko F 2000b‘Climate change and the collapse of the Akkadian empire: evidence from the deep sea’ Geology vol. 28 pp. 379–382.

  • Cullen H Kaplan A Arkin PA & Demenocal P 2002‘Impact of the north Atlantic oscillation on Middle Eastern climate and stream fow’ Climatic Change vol. 55 pp. 315–338.

  • El-Moslimany AP 1983 History of climate and vegetation in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East from the Pleniglacial to the Mid-Holocene Ph.D Thesis University of Washington.

  • Fleitmann D Burns SJ Mangini A Mudesee M Kramers J Villa L Neff U Al-Subbary AA Buettner A Hippler D & Matter A 2007‘Holocene ITCZ and Indian monsoon dynamics recorded in stalagmites from Oman and Yemen (Socotra)’ Quaternary Science Reviews vol. 26 pp. 170–188.

  • Hong YT Hong B Lin QH Zhu YX Shibata Y Hirota M Uchida M Leng. X Jiang H Xu H Wang H & Yi L 2003‘Correlation between Indian Ocean summer monsoon and North Atlantic climate during the Holocene’ Earth and Planetary Science Letters vol. 211 pp. 371–380.

  • Hurrell JW 1995‘Decadal trends in the North Atlantic Oscillation: Regional Temperatures and Precipitation’ Science vol. 269 pp. 676–679.

  • Hurrell JW & Deser C 2009‘North Atlantic climate variability: The role of the North Atlantic Oscillation’ Journal of Marine Systems vol. 78 pp. 28–41.

  • Iraqi Meteorological Organization and Seismology Department of climate monthly precipitation and temperature data. (Unpublished data)

  • Kaniewski D Paulissen E Van Campo E Weiss H Otto T Bretschneider J & Van lerberghe K 2010‘Late second–early frst millennium BC abrupt climate changes in coastal Syria and their possible signifcance for the history of the Eastern Mediterranean’ Quaternary Research vol. 74 pp. 207–215.

  • Keigwin LD & Boyle EA 2000‘Detecting Holocene changes in thermohaline circulation’ proceedings of the National Academy of Science vol. 97 pp. 1343–1346.

  • Kim J Meggers H Rimbu N Lohmann G Freudenthal T Muller PJ & Schneider RR 2007‘Impacts of the North Atlantic gyre circulation on Holocene climate off northwest Africa’ Geology vol. 35 no. 5 pp. 387–390.

  • Kostopoulou E & Jones PD 2007‘Comprehensive analysis of the climate variability in the eastern Mediterranean. Part II: relationships between atmospheric circulation patterns and surface climatic elements’ International Journal of Climatology vol. 27 pp. 1351–1371.

  • Kwiecien O Arz HW Lamy F Plessen B Bahr A & Haug G 2009‘North Atlantic control on precipitation pattern in the eastern Mediterranean / Black Sea region during the last glacial’ Quaternary Research vol. 71 pp. 375–384.

  • Lamy F Arz HW Bond GC Bahr A & Patzold J 2006‘Multicentennial-scale hydrological changes in the Black Sea and northern Red Sea during the Holocene and the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation’ Paleoceanography vol. 21 PA10008 pp. 1–11. Availble from: WILEY [21 February 2006].

  • Lohmann G Lorenz SJ & Prange M 2005‘Northern high-latitude climate changes during the Holocene as simulated by circulation models’ Geophysical Monograph vol. 158 pp. 273–288.

  • Malinowski JC (ed) 2003 Iraq; A Geography West Point NY: United States Military Academy.

  • Mayewski PA Rohling E Stager JC Karlén W Maasch KA Meeker LD Meyerson EA Gasse F Van Kreveld S Holmgren K Lee-Thorp J Rosqvist G Rack F Staubwasser M Schneider RR & Steig EJ 2004‘Holocene climate variability’ Quaternary Research vol. 62 pp. 243– 255.

  • Neumann J & Parpola S 1987‘Climate change and the eleventh-tenth century eclipse of Assyria and Babylonian’ Journal of Near Eastern Studies vol. 46 no. 3 pp. 161–182.

  • Nieto-Moreno V Martinez-Ruiz F Giralt S Jiménez-Espejo F Gallego-Torres D Rodrigo-Gámiz M García-Orellana J Ortega-Huertas M and de Lange GJ 2011‘Tracking climate variability in the western Mediterranean during the Late Holocene: a multiproxy approach’ Climate of the past vol. 7 pp. 1395–1414. Available from: [21 February 2011].

  • Possehl G 1997‘Climate and the eclipse of the ancient cities of the Indus’. In Third Millennium BC. Climate change and old world collapse ed. H. Dalfes G Kukla & H Weiss Heidelberg; Springer-Verlag pp. 193–244.

  • Republic of Iraq Ministry of Planning Control statically organization “Annual statistical abstract” part one pp. 2010–2011.

  • Rimbu N Lohmann G Kim JH Arz HW & Schneider R 2003‘Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation signature in Holocene sea surface temperature trends as obtained from alkenone data’ Geophysical research letters vol. 30 no 6 pp. 1–13.

  • Rimbu N Lohmann G Lorenz SJ Kim JH & Schneider RR 2004‘Holocene climate variability as derived from alkenone sea surface temperature and coupled ocean-atmosphere model experiments’ Climate Dynamics vol. 23 pp. 215–227.

  • Roberts N Brayshaw D Kuzucuoglu C Perez R & Sadori L 2011‘The mid-Holocene climatic transition in the Mediterranean: Causes and consequences’ The Holocene vol. 21 no. 1 pp. 3–13.

  • Susa A 1963 Baghdad’s fooding in history the frst section Baghdad. (In Arabic)

  • The Climate Data Guide: Hurrell North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index (station-based).” Available from: .

  • Thamban M Kawahata H & Rao VP 2007‘Indian summer Monsoon Variability during the Holocene as Recorded in Sediments of the Arabian Sea: Timing and Implications’ Journal of Oceanography vol. 63 pp. 1009–1020.

  • Trouet V Esper J Graham N Baker A Scourse J & Frank D 2009‘Persistent positive North Atlantic oscillation mode dominated the Medieval Climate Anomaly’. Science vol. 324 pp. 78–80. Available from: . [22 November 2012].

  • Visbeck M Chassignet EP Curry R Delworth T Dickson B & Krahmann G 2003‘The ocean’s response to North Atlantic Oscillation variability in The North Atlantic Oscillation: Climatic Signifcance and Environmental Impact’ eds JW Hurrell Y Kushnir G Ottersen Geophysical Monograph Series Washington vol. 134 pp. 113–145.

  • Visbeck M Cullen H Krahmann G & Naik N 1998‘An oceans model’s response to North Atlantic Oscillation like wind forcing’ Geophysical research letters vol. 25 no 24 pp. 4521–4524.

  • Walker M 2005 Iraq a Full-Year Study Climatology Study Air Force Combat Climatology Center (AFCCC) Asheville north Carolina.

  • Wanner H Bronnimann S Casty C Gyalistras D Luterbacher J Schmutz C Stephenson DB & Xoplaki E 2001‘North Atlantic Oscillation- concepts and studies’ Surveys in Geophysics vol. 22 pp. 321–382.

  • Weiss H Courty MA Wetterstrom W Guichard F Senior L Meadow R & Curnow A 1993‘The genesis and collapse of third millennium north Mesopotamian civilization’ Science vol. 261 pp. 995–1004.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.62

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.236
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.378

Covered by e.g. Web of Science Core Collection by Clarivate Analytics, and SCOPUS by Elsevier
70 points in the Ministerial journal value rating scale

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 178 119 1
PDF Downloads 83 65 3