Tag Archives: Mediterranean

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Hotter Mediterranean will bring in desert

Should temperatures in the Mediterranean basin continue to rise, the dunes of the Sahara will march northwards and southern Spain will become a desert.

LONDON, 7 November, 2016 – If nations fail to limit global warming to 1.5°C this century, at least one region of the globe will experience change not seen in the last 10,000 years.

Temperatures in the Mediterranean basin are already 1.3°C higher than they were between 1880 and 1920. If they go on getting much hotter, there will be change on a scale not seen since the close of the last Ice Age, according to a new study.

Under the notorious business-as-usual scenario, in which humans go on burning fossil fuels at an ever-increasing rate, and releasing ever more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, then the dunes of North Africa’s Sahara will march northwards and southern Spain will become a desert.

Deciduous trees will invade the mountain regions, and shrubland vegetation will replace the great deciduous forests in large areas of the Mediterranean, according to two scientists from the Universities of Aix-Marseille and Avignon in France.

Joël Guiot and Wolfgang Cramer report in the journal Science that they sifted the evidence from pollen cores and other telltale climatic indicators and modelled the pattern of ecosystem change through the Neolithic, the Bronze Age and recorded human history.

Role of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean plays a powerful role in the human story: some of the world’s great staples – wheat and barley, olives and figs, lentils and pulses – were domesticated near its shores. Cattle, sheep and goats were tamed, and yoghurt and cheese first appeared there.

Mediterranean peoples learned to ferment wine and beer, forge tools with metals, create three of the world’s great religions, and lay the foundations for much of the world’s theatre and literature, art and science.

The Mediterranean Sea has been both a cockpit of conflict and the starting point for the creation of empires. But it is already changing as a response to global warming.

The present drought in the eastern Mediterranean has been pronounced the worst in 900 years. Warmer temperatures have brought invader fish from the Red Sea and driven the sardines out into the Atlantic.

The woodland and scrub along the coast have always been vulnerable to fire, but the fire season in the region has been extended so far by 29 days. There have been fears that, unchecked, heatwaves amplified by global warming could make some places uninhabitable.

And prehistory has its own lesson: there is evidence that at least one ancient civilisation may have been toppled by climate change.

Nations that met in Paris last December vowed to contain global warming to within 2°C overall, and if possible to 1.5°C. But that is a global atmospheric average temperature: in fact, some parts of the planet have already exceeded that.

Catastrophic drought

And vows are not to be confused with action. As nations prepare to meet again in Marrakech, in the Mediterranean nation of Morocco, the two scientists from the south of France have delivered another urgent warning. They foresee a period characterised by what they politely called “recurring precipitation deficits”: in other words, sustained and potentially catastrophic drought.

In this scenario climate change threatens the crops of the region, the creatures that live there, and the tourist industries that thrive on its climate and history. And, the two scientists warn, the changes they predict will be entirely a consequence of warming.

They have not taken into account population growth, economic expansion, or land use changes that degrade vegetation and soils. These additional effects, they warn, will enhance, rather than dampen, the shifts toward “a drier state than estimated by this analysis”. – Climate News Network

Should temperatures in the Mediterranean basin continue to rise, the dunes of the Sahara will march northwards and southern Spain will become a desert.

LONDON, 7 November, 2016 – If nations fail to limit global warming to 1.5°C this century, at least one region of the globe will experience change not seen in the last 10,000 years.

Temperatures in the Mediterranean basin are already 1.3°C higher than they were between 1880 and 1920. If they go on getting much hotter, there will be change on a scale not seen since the close of the last Ice Age, according to a new study.

Under the notorious business-as-usual scenario, in which humans go on burning fossil fuels at an ever-increasing rate, and releasing ever more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, then the dunes of North Africa’s Sahara will march northwards and southern Spain will become a desert.

Deciduous trees will invade the mountain regions, and shrubland vegetation will replace the great deciduous forests in large areas of the Mediterranean, according to two scientists from the Universities of Aix-Marseille and Avignon in France.

Joël Guiot and Wolfgang Cramer report in the journal Science that they sifted the evidence from pollen cores and other telltale climatic indicators and modelled the pattern of ecosystem change through the Neolithic, the Bronze Age and recorded human history.

Role of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean plays a powerful role in the human story: some of the world’s great staples – wheat and barley, olives and figs, lentils and pulses – were domesticated near its shores. Cattle, sheep and goats were tamed, and yoghurt and cheese first appeared there.

Mediterranean peoples learned to ferment wine and beer, forge tools with metals, create three of the world’s great religions, and lay the foundations for much of the world’s theatre and literature, art and science.

The Mediterranean Sea has been both a cockpit of conflict and the starting point for the creation of empires. But it is already changing as a response to global warming.

The present drought in the eastern Mediterranean has been pronounced the worst in 900 years. Warmer temperatures have brought invader fish from the Red Sea and driven the sardines out into the Atlantic.

The woodland and scrub along the coast have always been vulnerable to fire, but the fire season in the region has been extended so far by 29 days. There have been fears that, unchecked, heatwaves amplified by global warming could make some places uninhabitable.

And prehistory has its own lesson: there is evidence that at least one ancient civilisation may have been toppled by climate change.

Nations that met in Paris last December vowed to contain global warming to within 2°C overall, and if possible to 1.5°C. But that is a global atmospheric average temperature: in fact, some parts of the planet have already exceeded that.

Catastrophic drought

And vows are not to be confused with action. As nations prepare to meet again in Marrakech, in the Mediterranean nation of Morocco, the two scientists from the south of France have delivered another urgent warning. They foresee a period characterised by what they politely called “recurring precipitation deficits”: in other words, sustained and potentially catastrophic drought.

In this scenario climate change threatens the crops of the region, the creatures that live there, and the tourist industries that thrive on its climate and history. And, the two scientists warn, the changes they predict will be entirely a consequence of warming.

They have not taken into account population growth, economic expansion, or land use changes that degrade vegetation and soils. These additional effects, they warn, will enhance, rather than dampen, the shifts toward “a drier state than estimated by this analysis”. – Climate News Network

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Climate 'toppled late Bronze Age rulers'

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Recent research suggests that the rise and fall of the ancient world’s civilisations may have been due to a changing climate.

LONDON, 24 August – Historians and archaeologists have invoked catastrophic volcanic eruption, a tsunami, invasion, a socioeconomic crisis, new technology and mysterious forces to explain the collapse of late Bronze Age civilisation in Europe.

But a team of scientists have another explanation: climate change more than 3,000 years ago altered the course of history and bequeathed to modern Europe an enduring set of myths, and museums full of amazing archaeological finds, but very few facts.

The civilisation of the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th century BC was real enough. This is the dramatic landscape celebrated by the great poet Homer, and in the earliest Jewish scriptures that now make up the first books of the Bible, and in the ruins of the region.

Powerful kings and autocrats ruled at Mycenae and Tiryns in the Peloponnese of Greece, the Hittites built an empire in Anatolia, in what is now Turkey, great cities flourished in Canaan, in what is now Israel, and there was a fabulous civilisation based at Knossos in Crete.

Ramses II ruled Egypt for 66 years, and engaged in protracted wars with the Sea Peoples, who exist in ancient records but who remain mysterious.

And then, everywhere and in the same few decades, all these empires collapsed and some were all but erased.
Researchers reported recently in Nature that after analysis of a series of studies of conflict and violence, they had identified temperature and drought as a factor in all of them.

Felled by drought

Their definition of conflict and violence extended from murder and riots in the streets to the fall of civilisations. And, right on cue, Daniel Kaniewski of the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, and colleagues drive home the climate connection: drought, crop failure and famine accompanied the collapse of the late Bronze Age civilisation.

They report in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One that they examined a long succession of pollen grains in sediments in an ancient, land-locked salt lake in Cyprus, and found evidence of environmental change that drove a crisis everywhere in the ancient world.

The pollens told a story of vegetational succession: of oak forests, marsh plants and reeds, of Mediterranean woodlands, meadows, steppe grasses, agricultural plants and the weeds that spring up alongside them – and then testimony of a 300 year drought almost exactly co-incident with the failure of so many civilisations and the emergence of the Age of Iron.

Such a drought would have precipitated famine, poverty and invasion, as desperate people with nothing at all assaulted cities that had increasingly little to protect. The matching of archaeological and environmental data from the Syrian and Cypriot coasts, the researchers say, “offers a first comprehensive insight into how and why things may have happened during this chaotic period.”

It also underlines the agro-productive sensitivity (their words) of the ancient Mediterranean societies to climate, and, they say, takes the mystery out of the crisis of the Late Bronze Age. – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Recent research suggests that the rise and fall of the ancient world’s civilisations may have been due to a changing climate.

LONDON, 24 August – Historians and archaeologists have invoked catastrophic volcanic eruption, a tsunami, invasion, a socioeconomic crisis, new technology and mysterious forces to explain the collapse of late Bronze Age civilisation in Europe.

But a team of scientists have another explanation: climate change more than 3,000 years ago altered the course of history and bequeathed to modern Europe an enduring set of myths, and museums full of amazing archaeological finds, but very few facts.

The civilisation of the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th century BC was real enough. This is the dramatic landscape celebrated by the great poet Homer, and in the earliest Jewish scriptures that now make up the first books of the Bible, and in the ruins of the region.

Powerful kings and autocrats ruled at Mycenae and Tiryns in the Peloponnese of Greece, the Hittites built an empire in Anatolia, in what is now Turkey, great cities flourished in Canaan, in what is now Israel, and there was a fabulous civilisation based at Knossos in Crete.

Ramses II ruled Egypt for 66 years, and engaged in protracted wars with the Sea Peoples, who exist in ancient records but who remain mysterious.

And then, everywhere and in the same few decades, all these empires collapsed and some were all but erased.
Researchers reported recently in Nature that after analysis of a series of studies of conflict and violence, they had identified temperature and drought as a factor in all of them.

Felled by drought

Their definition of conflict and violence extended from murder and riots in the streets to the fall of civilisations. And, right on cue, Daniel Kaniewski of the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, and colleagues drive home the climate connection: drought, crop failure and famine accompanied the collapse of the late Bronze Age civilisation.

They report in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One that they examined a long succession of pollen grains in sediments in an ancient, land-locked salt lake in Cyprus, and found evidence of environmental change that drove a crisis everywhere in the ancient world.

The pollens told a story of vegetational succession: of oak forests, marsh plants and reeds, of Mediterranean woodlands, meadows, steppe grasses, agricultural plants and the weeds that spring up alongside them – and then testimony of a 300 year drought almost exactly co-incident with the failure of so many civilisations and the emergence of the Age of Iron.

Such a drought would have precipitated famine, poverty and invasion, as desperate people with nothing at all assaulted cities that had increasingly little to protect. The matching of archaeological and environmental data from the Syrian and Cypriot coasts, the researchers say, “offers a first comprehensive insight into how and why things may have happened during this chaotic period.”

It also underlines the agro-productive sensitivity (their words) of the ancient Mediterranean societies to climate, and, they say, takes the mystery out of the crisis of the Late Bronze Age. – Climate News Network

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Climate ‘toppled late Bronze Age rulers’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Recent research suggests that the rise and fall of the ancient world’s civilisations may have been due to a changing climate. LONDON, 24 August – Historians and archaeologists have invoked catastrophic volcanic eruption, a tsunami, invasion, a socioeconomic crisis, new technology and mysterious forces to explain the collapse of late Bronze Age civilisation in Europe. But a team of scientists have another explanation: climate change more than 3,000 years ago altered the course of history and bequeathed to modern Europe an enduring set of myths, and museums full of amazing archaeological finds, but very few facts. The civilisation of the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th century BC was real enough. This is the dramatic landscape celebrated by the great poet Homer, and in the earliest Jewish scriptures that now make up the first books of the Bible, and in the ruins of the region. Powerful kings and autocrats ruled at Mycenae and Tiryns in the Peloponnese of Greece, the Hittites built an empire in Anatolia, in what is now Turkey, great cities flourished in Canaan, in what is now Israel, and there was a fabulous civilisation based at Knossos in Crete. Ramses II ruled Egypt for 66 years, and engaged in protracted wars with the Sea Peoples, who exist in ancient records but who remain mysterious. And then, everywhere and in the same few decades, all these empires collapsed and some were all but erased. Researchers reported recently in Nature that after analysis of a series of studies of conflict and violence, they had identified temperature and drought as a factor in all of them.

Felled by drought

Their definition of conflict and violence extended from murder and riots in the streets to the fall of civilisations. And, right on cue, Daniel Kaniewski of the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, and colleagues drive home the climate connection: drought, crop failure and famine accompanied the collapse of the late Bronze Age civilisation. They report in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One that they examined a long succession of pollen grains in sediments in an ancient, land-locked salt lake in Cyprus, and found evidence of environmental change that drove a crisis everywhere in the ancient world. The pollens told a story of vegetational succession: of oak forests, marsh plants and reeds, of Mediterranean woodlands, meadows, steppe grasses, agricultural plants and the weeds that spring up alongside them – and then testimony of a 300 year drought almost exactly co-incident with the failure of so many civilisations and the emergence of the Age of Iron. Such a drought would have precipitated famine, poverty and invasion, as desperate people with nothing at all assaulted cities that had increasingly little to protect. The matching of archaeological and environmental data from the Syrian and Cypriot coasts, the researchers say, “offers a first comprehensive insight into how and why things may have happened during this chaotic period.” It also underlines the agro-productive sensitivity (their words) of the ancient Mediterranean societies to climate, and, they say, takes the mystery out of the crisis of the Late Bronze Age. – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Recent research suggests that the rise and fall of the ancient world’s civilisations may have been due to a changing climate. LONDON, 24 August – Historians and archaeologists have invoked catastrophic volcanic eruption, a tsunami, invasion, a socioeconomic crisis, new technology and mysterious forces to explain the collapse of late Bronze Age civilisation in Europe. But a team of scientists have another explanation: climate change more than 3,000 years ago altered the course of history and bequeathed to modern Europe an enduring set of myths, and museums full of amazing archaeological finds, but very few facts. The civilisation of the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th century BC was real enough. This is the dramatic landscape celebrated by the great poet Homer, and in the earliest Jewish scriptures that now make up the first books of the Bible, and in the ruins of the region. Powerful kings and autocrats ruled at Mycenae and Tiryns in the Peloponnese of Greece, the Hittites built an empire in Anatolia, in what is now Turkey, great cities flourished in Canaan, in what is now Israel, and there was a fabulous civilisation based at Knossos in Crete. Ramses II ruled Egypt for 66 years, and engaged in protracted wars with the Sea Peoples, who exist in ancient records but who remain mysterious. And then, everywhere and in the same few decades, all these empires collapsed and some were all but erased. Researchers reported recently in Nature that after analysis of a series of studies of conflict and violence, they had identified temperature and drought as a factor in all of them.

Felled by drought

Their definition of conflict and violence extended from murder and riots in the streets to the fall of civilisations. And, right on cue, Daniel Kaniewski of the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, and colleagues drive home the climate connection: drought, crop failure and famine accompanied the collapse of the late Bronze Age civilisation. They report in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS One that they examined a long succession of pollen grains in sediments in an ancient, land-locked salt lake in Cyprus, and found evidence of environmental change that drove a crisis everywhere in the ancient world. The pollens told a story of vegetational succession: of oak forests, marsh plants and reeds, of Mediterranean woodlands, meadows, steppe grasses, agricultural plants and the weeds that spring up alongside them – and then testimony of a 300 year drought almost exactly co-incident with the failure of so many civilisations and the emergence of the Age of Iron. Such a drought would have precipitated famine, poverty and invasion, as desperate people with nothing at all assaulted cities that had increasingly little to protect. The matching of archaeological and environmental data from the Syrian and Cypriot coasts, the researchers say, “offers a first comprehensive insight into how and why things may have happened during this chaotic period.” It also underlines the agro-productive sensitivity (their words) of the ancient Mediterranean societies to climate, and, they say, takes the mystery out of the crisis of the Late Bronze Age. – Climate News Network