Drylands: paleoenvironmental and geomorphic perspectives and challenges
Arid to sub-humid regions contribute ca. 40 % to the global land surface and are home of more than 40 % of the world’s population. During prehistoric times many important cultures had developed in these regions. Due to the high sensitivity of dryland areas even to small-scale environmental changes and anthropogenic activities, ongoing geomorphological processes but also the Late Quaternary palaeoenvironmental evolution as recorded in sediment archives are becoming increasingly relevant for geomorphological, palaeoenvironmental and geoarchaeological research. Dryland research is also boosted by methodological advances, and especially by emerging linkages with other climatic and geomorphic systems that allow using dryland areas as indicator-regions of global environmental change.
This session aims to pool contributions from the broad field of earth sciences that deal with geomorphological processes and different types of sediment archives in dryland areas (dunes, loess, slope deposits, fluvial sediments, alluvial fans, lake and playa sediments, desert pavements, soils, paleosols etc.) at different spatial and temporal scales. Besides case studies from individual regions and archives, methodical and conceptual contributions, e.g. dealing with the special role of eolian, fluvial, gravitational and biological processes in dryland environments, their preservation over time in the sedimentary records, and emerging opportunities and limitations to resolve past and current dynamics, are especially welcome in this session.