2,500 years of climate variability reported in Science, vol. 331, p278, 4 February 2011, DOI: 10.1126/science.1197175, ScienceNOW 13 January 2011 and SciencDaily 14 January 2011.

An international team of archaeologists, climatologists, geographers and historians have used thousands of tree ring measurements from Germany, France, Italy and Austria to draw up a record temperature and rainfall changes in Europe over the last 2,500 years, and correlate them with human history during that time. They concluded: “Wet and warm summers occurred during periods of Roman and medieval prosperity. Increased climate variability from around AD 250 to 600 coincided with the demise of the Western Roman Empire and the turmoil of the Migration Period.” They also found periods of cold winters and wet summers occurred during periods of famine and plague in the 14th Century and in the periods of mass migration from Europe in the 17th to early 19th Centuries.

The researchers also wrote: “Recent warming is unprecedented, but modern hydroclimatic variations may have at times been exceeded in magnitude and duration.” ScienceDaily claims the study “lends new credence to the idea that climate variability can impact human society”. The authors also wrote: “Historical circumstances may challenge recent political and fiscal reluctance to mitigate projected climate change.”


Editorial Comment: There are some rather confusing ‘techno-speak’ conclusions here. If recent warming is “unprecedented” then how come it has been “exceeded in magnitude and duration” in the past? The results of the study described above only add to the evidence that climate change is not caused by human industry or motorised transport. Furthermore, if warm periods were provable associated with prosperity and stability, then politicians should only encourage opposition to plans to cool the planet down, since prosperity and stability should be what every politician wants.

There certainly is credence in the idea that climate variability can impact human society. After all the warm period during the Roman Empire certainly made for stability and ease of travel in the Roman Empire, which in turn enabled the Christian gospel to be rapidly spread to lands around the Mediterranean and beyond to Britain. When people left chilly wet Europe and Britain during the period of exploration and colonisation in the 17th to 19th centuries they took the gospel with them all over the world and many found had little climate incentive to leave warmer climes to return home.

These 2,500 years of climate variation are also a reminder of God’s promise to Noah some four to five thousand years ago (Genesis 8:22), that until the end of the world there would be hot as well as cold times, and God can and will use them all for his purposes.

Evidence News 9 March 2011

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