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Drought may be responsible for demise of Sumerian language

A 200-year-long drought which occurred 4,200 years ago may be directly responsible for killing off the Sumerian language. "As we go into the 4,200-year-ago climate anomaly, we actually see that estimated rainfall decreases substantially in this region and the number of sites that are populated at this time period reduce substantially,"

Using Viking poop to understand climate change

The Boston Globe has posted an interesting article about geoscientist Robert D'Anjou, who is looking for Viking excrement in order to better understand ancient climate change. Scientists often search for pollen, for example, but changes in plant life can be a sign not only of climate change, but agriculture. Similarly, erosion

Does a 2,000-year-old stalagmite tell the tale of the fall of the Maya?

A 2,000-year-old stalagmite found in a cave in Belize suggests that climate change may have contributed to the fall of the Mayan civilization. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University traced a climate trail recorded in a 2,000-year-old stalagmite found in a cave in Belize, concluding that prolonged periods of drought corresponded with

Pollen analysis reveals ancient Egyptian climate

Analysis of pollen and charcoal deposits in the Nile Delta have revealed a record of climate catastrophes in Ancient Egypt, including a massive drought which may have lead to the downfall of Egypt's Old Kingdom. Scientists with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Pennsylvania expected that they would

Climate not responsible for wiping out Neanderthals

A new study of microscopic particles of volcanic glass has revealed that a huge eruption 40,000 years ago was not responsible for the demise of Neanderthals. It seems that modern humans are probably the likely culprit. The team collected samples containing CI cryptotephra from four central European caves where stone tools

Climate change led to collapse of Harappan civilization

New research indicats that climate change led to the demise of the Harappan civilization which one spread across India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh 5,200 years ago. Initially, the monsoon-drenched rivers the researchers identified were prone to devastating floods. Over time, monsoons weakened, enabling agriculture and civilization to flourish along flood-fed riverbanks

Ancient weather records help scientist study climate

Ancient weather records kept by Arabic scholars between 816-1009 AD are helping scientists study climate change. Until now researchers have relied on official records detailing weather patterns including air force reports during WW2 and 18th century ship's logs. Now a team of Spanish scientists from the Universidad de Extremadura have turned

Did Christopher Columbus trigger an Ice Age

New research suggests that by sailing to the New World, Chrisotpher Columbus and the explorers that followed him may have triggered climate cooling in Europe. The European conquest of the Americas decimated the people living there, leaving large areas of cleared land untended. Trees that filled in this territory pulled billions