Tree Rings Show Swift Shifts in Europe's Climate Linked to Rise & Fall of Roman Empire

roman aqueduct ruin photo

photo: Francesco Z/Creative Commons

Those who don't remember the past... It's been long known that changing climatic conditions has contributed to the demise of ancient civilizations (think: the Saraswati-Indus civilization when the Saraswati River dried up), and the connections between climate variations and agriculture are perhaps obvious, but here's another example: A new article in Science shows a link between sudden shifts in Europe's climate and the fortunes of the Roman empire.

Look at data from 9,000 wooden artifacts going back two and a half millennia, researchers found, "Wet and warm summers occurred during periods of Roman and medieval prosperity. Increased climate variability from 250-600 AD coincided with the demise of the western Roman empire and the turmoil of the migration period. Distinct drying in the 3rd Century paralleled a period of serious crisis in the western Roman empire marked by barbarian invasion, political turmoil and economic dislocation in several provinces in Gaul."via: BBC News
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