The Lost Glaciers of Anatolia 20 Thousand Years Ago

by İTÜ | Oct 09, 2020
Lecturers from the ITU Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering traced the glaciers that had disappeared thousands of years ago in Anatolia and revealed the climatic conditions of that period with computer models.
The study, published in the Journal of Quaternary Science, traced the Anatolian glaciers that disappeared as a result of the climate changes that occurred after the last glacial period. Within this scope, the glaciers that existed about 20 thousand years ago on the Dedegöl Mountain in the Lakes Region were remodeled. To understand and predict the consequences of climate change as one of the most important global problems, 3D glacial flow models were used for the first time in Anatolian geography.

In the study, conducted with the support of TÜBİTAK, the traces of glaciers and rock piles on the Dedegöl Mountain were detected. The ages of the glaciers were determined using cosmogenic isotopes (36Cl). The largest glacial territories are determined by mapping the glacial expansion areas. The thickness, flow velocity, area, and volume of the glaciers in the region under different temperature and precipitation conditions were determined by using Pisman glacier flow model that is implemented for the first time in Turkey. In the simulations carried out with the infrastructure of the ITU National High Performance Computing Center (UHeM), the climatic conditions of the last glacial period (approximately 20 thousand years ago) of southwest Anatolia were recreated. According to the results of modeled nine different scenarios, temperatures in southwestern Anatolia during the last ice age were 9.2 - 10.6 C colder than today. However, the precipitation was not much different from today.

The past climatic conditions of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East geography are important in understanding the current climate change and predicting its possible consequences. The studies continue in this context.

Article authors:
ITU Faculty of Mechanical Engineering: Adem Candaş, ITU Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences: M. Akif Sarıkaya, Oğuzhan Köse, Ömer L. Şen, and Attila Çiner

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