Six civilization destroyed by climate change


mentalfloss
#1
Six civilization destroyed by climate change


The research is all pointing in one direction: Whether you believe humans are contributing to it, or not, climate change is happening, and it's going to cost us. But how much?

We scoured the history books for clues as to what happens to advanced civilizations when the climate they're used to stops behaving the same way.

Here are six cultures that simply couldn't cope.

The Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilization, sometimes called the Harappan Civilization, was one of the world’s first, flourishing in what is now Pakistan and northwestern India more than 4,000 years ago. And chances are, you might not even have heard about it until recently, because when it collapsed, it completely vanished from the historical record.


Image: NASA

At the same time as the Egyptians and Sumerians were spreading their influence over the Middle East, the Harappans developed sophisticated pottery and artwork, and built large and well-organized cities all along the Indus valley, collectively accounting for up to 10 per cent of the entire global population at the time.

But of the Harappans themselves, we know nothing. The end of their civilization was so total, we didn’t even know about them until the 20th Century, and even then we’ve still not deciphered their written language, so we have no names or stories.

What we do know is climate change was a huge factor in their demise. Archaeologists surmise the Harappans developed their civilization in a climatic sweet spot of only 2,000 years, a window that began closing in the 22nd Century B.C.E.

That, according to scientists, is when the monsoons that watered the region became irregular, sparking a 200-year drought. As crop yields fell, the Harappans’ society began to fragment, and recent research indicates that disease levels and the rate of violent death were at the peak just as the ancient cities were in an advanced stage of abandonment.


[Image source]

Sooner or later, someone will figure out how to read their writing and see how the relatively abrupt shift in climate may have influenced their culture. Until then, for stronger evidence of the role of climate change in civilizations' collapse, we’ll turn our eyes westward where one of the greatest ancient empires was finding out what happens when the rain refuses to cooperate.

The Akkadian Empire

Unlike the Harappans, we know exactly what the Akkadians, in their domains in the Fertile Crescent, thought when their region entered a dry period lasting decades of centuries.

Simply: They blamed it on the gods. Or, rather, the gods blamed it on them.


Image: Mbzt/Wikimedia Commons

[Image License]

The Akkadians roared onto the scene more than 4,000 years ago, conquering city after city until their empire stretched the Persian Gulf up to the mountains where the great Tigris and Euphrates rivers start their journey as streams.

During the sack of one such city, Nippur, Akkadian troops supposedly violated the temple of one of their gods. The entire pantheon got together and decided to make the Akkadians pay for their offence.

That’s how the conquerors saw the situation when rainfall declined. Scientists marked an increase in dust dating around the time of the collapse, along with volcanic ash, suggesting an eruption that may have made things worse.

The famine was too much for the Akkadians’ sophisticated system of irrigation and food storage. Whole cities had to be abandoned, streaming southward and swelling the capital and other cities with refugees, more mouths to feed at a time when there wasn’t enough to go around.


Image: US Army

The famine and resulting social unrest weakened the empire enough that it crumpled easily before invaders from the north. And given the generally arid conditions and heavy reliance on irrigation in today’s Middle East, the Akkadian collapse could be a chilling glimpse of the unrest that could ensue if the modern-day region suffers a similar drought.

The Minoans

It hardly seems worth it for an ancient civilization to reach staggering levels of advancement: It always seems like some kind of horrific catastrophe awaits them.

Enter the Minoans, a civilization centred on the island of Crete, reaching incredible heights of sophisticated development and artwork. They are credited as one of the first civilizations to invent a system of writing (and one of their two main scripts still hasn’t been deciphered), and their trading links are said to have spanned the eastern Mediterranean.


Image: Lapplaender / Wikimedia Commons

[Image Licence]

As for their fate, it looks like they got hit with a double whammy. Climatic research seems to suggest the island culture started feeling the sting of centuries of strong El Nino events from around 1450 B.C., coinciding with the Minoans’ decline.

Warmer summers and higher summer evaporation would have dried up lowland pastures, forcing the Minions upland and actually bringing about a change in their art and culture to reflect the changing climate.

Then the volcano on the Aegean island of Thera (now Santorini) blew its top, also around the mid-second-millenium B.C. While the tsunami alone would have devastated coastal communities, the incredibly powerful blast would have ejected enough material into the air to usher in years of colder, wetter summers.


Image: NASA

It was probably a combination of these two catastrophes, one instantaneous, the other slow-moving, that took down the Minoans. The island was conquered by invaders from mainland Greece, and never achieved prominence again.

Insider Insights: Articles - Six civilizations destroyed by climate change - The Weather Network
 
darkbeaver
#2


A Record of Planetary Catastrophe
Mar 21, 2008
Mohenjo-Daro

Some have suggested ancient technology glassified these Indus Valley ruins but electricity is a more plausible explanation.

Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent region are thought to be the “birthplace” of civilization and the central focus for human culture dating back to the beginning of recorded history. No one knows for sure just how old the generalized composite that we call “society” really is – both because of archeological deficiencies and because of radiometric disconformity – but one of the oldest sites is located in the Indus Valley of Pakistan and appears to date from around 3000-2500 BCE.



There are many ways to date ancient artifacts and there are just as many ways to interpret the results from those techniques. It is not the purpose of this paper to address the difficulties inherent with using carbon 14, tree-rings, stratiographic distribution, or any other methodology when attempting to place artifacts or habitations within a chronological sequence. Other articles have addressed those issues, as well as previous Picture of the Day discussions about radioactive decay rates and how external, ionizing sources can change isotope ratios.



There is one intriguing aspect to Mohenjo-Daro that sets it apart from most ancient ruins. It is the one anomaly among several at the site that has caused some researchers to suggest that there might have been forces unleashed in the past that are comparable to modern weapons. Walls, pottery and other items found in the city have been turned into a kind of ceramic glass, indicating that they were exposed to heat close to 1500 degrees Celsius. Evidence of ionizing radiation has also been found in some of the burial sites.

The oldest myths of the Hindu religion, itself one of the oldest religions in the world, speak of gods flying in vehicles composed of dazzling light and intricately carved platforms called vimanas, that waged war with one another using energy beams of incredible power. In the Hindu religious text known as the Mahabharata, there is a description of one such vehicle:

“Gurkha flying in his swift and powerful Vimana hurled against the three cities of the Vrishis and Andhakas a single projectile charged with all the power of the Universe. An incandescent column of smoke and fire, as brilliant as ten thousands suns, rose in all its splendor. It was the unknown weapon, the Iron Thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death which reduced to ashes the entire race of the Vrishnis and Andhakas.”

Many speculations have been forthcoming about what the vimanas were or what the Iron Thunderbolt might have been. Some of the more imaginative examples see UFO’s and alien spacecraft waging war against the backdrop of primitive humanity, leaving behind a mythological image of gods and demons in conflict. Since the old races were unable to comprehend the idea of technologies on such a vast scale, the only alternative was to invest the phenomena that they observed with divine power.

Rather than presupposing a visitation from a super race of extraterrestrials, it is more probable that natural events – although orders of magnitude beyond what we experience today – imprinted themselves on the psyches of our ancestors and inspired the reports of gods in the sky.

Several past Pictures of the Day dealt with gigantic geological formations all over the world and with craters exceeding 100 kilometers in diameter. In some cases, the craters are associated with glass spherules or large chunks of pure silica lying in broken pieces all over the desert floor. The fact that the Egyptians considered the “desert glass” from the Great Sand Sea to be sacred and used it to adorn their religious icons is significant because the vitrified walls of Mohenjo-Daro are also said to originate in the wars of the gods, or theomachia.

What could account for fields of broken glass shards like those in Egypt, large sheets of glass like “Darwin glass” from Australia, vitrified stone walls in Scotland and the fused pottery and melted ramparts of Mohenjo-Daro? In all these cases, it was probably gigantic plasma discharges in the form of lightning bolts and electric arcs that melted the ruins and fused the soils into glass. The timeframe is probably impossible to determine with any accuracy at this late date, but it seems evident that humanity had reached a high level of sophistication before being exposed to these cataclysmic events.

By Stephen Smith


picture of the day archive subject index subject abstracts


The locations of ice cores and evidence for abrupt climate change approximately 5,000 years ago are depicted
above, along with areas of large-scale ice retreat. Credit: Lonnie Thompson, Ohio State University



Jul 07, 2006
A Record of Planetary Catastrophe

Many individuals in the Thunderbolts group contend that our planet’s sky once looked vastly different than it does today. The Earth moved in a more dynamic electrical environment in close interaction with other celestial bodies, including our neighboring planets.

If the celestial events suggested in these pages did indeed occur, they would have left undeniable physical imprints.

The Greenland Ice Cores emphasize what we are learning in other fields of geology: the very recent past is not a story of incremental change. The Ice Cap began suddenly, perhaps engulfing a thriving temperate forest and all of its inhabitants. Its deepest layers record sudden large temperature changes, some much colder than today, others much warmer. Then, at about ten thousand layers before the present, something happened that stabilized the climate. What could that something have been?

The "mystery tale" of Earth’s recent catastrophic past is not such a mystery, given the abundance of clues. The data are multi-tiered and interdisciplinary. Even human testimony reveals essential details, because human beings meticulously recorded in their myth and folklore awe-inspiring events that changed the world and altered the heavens. These stories come from widely separated cultures, yet they are remarkably similar: heroes battling dragons, gods and goddesses casting fire and stone, a great deluge of water and flame from the sky. Plasma discharge events in the sky were recorded in ancient rock art and cave paintings on different continents around the world. Ancient humans speak of celestial warfare and global cataclysm. And month by month the common details in their stories find new support in scientific discoveries on Earth and in space.
___________________________________________
 
captain morgan
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post


Insider Insights: Articles - Six civilizations destroyed by climate change - The Weather Network


Wow... You really gots ta be a true believer to buy that hogwash
 
mentalfloss
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morgan View Post

Wow... You really gots ta be a true believer to buy that hogwash

I never said I bought anything.
 
petros
+1
#5
I've heard tales of yore that include flooding 6Ka ago.

Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

I never said I bought anything.

Don't salesmen get demos anyway?
 
mentalfloss
#6
I just posted this up for discussion.

Whether it's plausible or not is what is part of that discussion.
 
captain morgan
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

I just posted this up for discussion.

Whether it's plausible or not is what is part of that discussion.

Alright, let's discuss...

What are your thoughts relative to the 'cause' of the decline/removal of those cultures from the historical record?
 
petros
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

I just posted this up for discussion.

Whether it's plausible or not is what is part of that discussion.

The odds of going cold are equal.

What are the plans for a cooling world?
 
Walter
+1
#9
Things change, big deal; they always have and always will.
 
captain morgan
+2
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

The odds of going cold are equal.


.. Much like the odds of the tides rising and falling daily
 
petros
#11
If we build another moon we can screw with those too.
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
+5
#12  Top Rated Post
Clearly these ancient societies failed to purchase enough carbon credits.
 
captain morgan
#13
Sweet
 
mentalfloss
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiing View Post

Clearly these ancient societies failed to purchase enough carbon credits.

This is about climate change in general, not CO2 driven climate change.
 
captain morgan
#15
Define 'Climate Change'.

Honestly, if this is about natural fluctuations in the conditions, then fair to say that we all agree that it happens.

If, on the other hand, this has anything to do with human induced changes AND the good folks at the IPCC that have deemed that carbon is the anthro-culprit; well, then carbon will have everything to do with the discussion
 
Colpy
+2
#16
Ummmmm....

Nobody has ever denied that climate changes. The question is how fast, and what can we do to adapt??

Destroying our economic base and debasing our civilization by a sudden rejection of fossil fuels is NOT the way to achieve anything, especially when we are not even sure if we are really warming, if we are what the cause is, and the science is all questionable.

Either way, we need to adapt.

I have long said evidence of our stupidity is not failing to give up oil, evidence of our stupidity is rebuilding New Orleans in the same place......that is IF we are actually warming...........
 
mentalfloss
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy View Post

Ummmmm....

Nobody has ever denied that climate changes. The question is how fast, and what can we do to adapt??

Destroying our economic base and debasing our civilization by a sudden rejection of fossil fuels is NOT the way to achieve anything, especially when we are not even sure if we are really warming, if we are what the cause is, and the science is all questionable.

Either way, we need to adapt.

I have long said evidence of our stupidity is not failing to give up oil, evidence of our stupidity is rebuilding New Orleans in the same place......that is IF we are actually warming...........

I'm sure we won't give up oil.

It will simply become a secondary or tertiary resource and gradually make its way further down.

The key problem is finding a way to reduce exploiting it in a sustainable way.
 
EagleSmack
+1
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

I never said I bought anything.

Then you're a troll with ZERO credibility.
 
petros
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

This is about climate change in general, not CO2 driven climate change.

To stay within the bounds of reality it is climate change within an interglacial period.

Just like today.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+2 / -1
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy View Post

Ummmmm....

Nobody has ever denied that climate changes. The question is how fast, and what can we do to adapt??

Destroying our economic base and debasing our civilization by a sudden rejection of fossil fuels is NOT the way to achieve anything, especially when we are not even sure if we are really warming, if we are what the cause is, and the science is all questionable.

Either way, we need to adapt.

I have long said evidence of our stupidity is not failing to give up oil, evidence of our stupidity is rebuilding New Orleans in the same place......that is IF we are actually warming...........

Way before Katrina. People have been rebuilding hurricane-shattered towns for centuries. The population of the perpetually-threatened Gulf Coast is increasing steadily.

No particular rap on those morons, of course. They are joined by the morons who build houses on 50-degree slopes on the West Coast, or move to a city of 600,000 population in a desert that can sustain less than 600.

Oddly, these folk always mention their faith in Gawd. Seems to me if you believe in Gawd, he just sent you a pretty clear message. "Move!" But somehow that always gets read as "It's all Obama's fault!" (or gays, or integration, or whatever).
 
EagleSmack
+2
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

I'm sure we won't give up oil.

It will simply become a secondary or tertiary resource and gradually make its way further down.

The key problem is finding a way to reduce exploiting it in a sustainable way.

Just like your coffee thread... you're FOS. You're just an alarmist zealot.

No credibility.
 
petros
#22
Then maybe we aren't working hard enough to instill rational unemotional thought and how to apply it to real life and scenarios?
 
Spade
+5
#23
That human activity has had and is still having a detrimental effect on local, regional, and global ecology and climate is undeniable. We do not have to go to the Lebanon or the Orkneys to see these effects. Just spend some time on the Canadian Prairies. Look at the degradation of lakes, the loss of wildlife habitat, and the quality of drinking water.

We all have profited from from modern lifestyle, but that does not mean we cannot point to waste, lack of foresight, poor practices that affect health and biosphere. Sure, the Great Male Sky Spirits may have a heavenly trout stream for us to fish in when we've crapped out, but I wouldn't bank on it. So, it is best for the generations which follow that we become better stewards.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+2
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by Spade View Post

That human activity has had and is still having a detrimental effect on local, regional, and global ecology and climate is undeniable. We do not have to go to the Lebanon or the Orkneys to see there effects. Just spend some time on the Canadian Prairies. Look at the degradation of lakes, the loss of wildlife habitat, and the quality of drinking water.

We all have profited from from modern lifestyle, but that does not mean we cannot point to waste, lack of foresight, poor practices that affect health and biosphere. Sure, the Great Male Sky Spirits may have a heavenly trout stream for us to fish in when we've crapped out, but I wouldn't bank on it. So, it is best fot the generations which follow,that we become better stewards.

Thenk yew!

I half-heartedly support AGW because many of the ameliorative techniques are also pollution control.

Just as I half-heartedly supported SDI because it was about the only way space research was going to continue.
 
EagleSmack
+3
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by Spade View Post

That human activity has had and is still having a detrimental effect on local, regional, and global ecology and climate is undeniable. We do not have to go to the Lebanon or the Orkneys to see these effects. Just spend some time on the Canadian Prairies. Look at the degradation of lakes, the loss of wildlife habitat, and the quality of drinking water.

We all have profited from from modern lifestyle, but that does not mean we cannot point to waste, lack of foresight, poor practices that affect health and biosphere. Sure, the Great Male Sky Spirits may have a heavenly trout stream for us to fish in when we've crapped out, but I wouldn't bank on it. So, it is best for the generations which follow that we become better stewards.

Good post... except for the climate part.

But I agree conservation, pollution controls, protection of wildlife habitats, marine conservation... all great, noble, and necessary.

Selective theft and wealth distribution... not so much. The climate will change.
 
petros
+2
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Spade View Post

That human activity has had and is still having a detrimental effect on local, regional, and global ecology and climate is undeniable. We do not have to go to the Lebanon or the Orkneys to see these effects. Just spend some time on the Canadian Prairies. Look at the degradation of lakes, the loss of wildlife habitat, and the quality of drinking water.

We all have profited from from modern lifestyle, but that does not mean we cannot point to waste, lack of foresight, poor practices that affect health and biosphere. Sure, the Great Male Sky Spirits may have a heavenly trout stream for us to fish in when we've crapped out, but I wouldn't bank on it. So, it is best for the generations which follow that we become better stewards.

The lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, marshes etc are making huge come backs after the droughts of the late 80 's 90 s. The abundant wildlife is coming back out of the bush and on to the plains to wander amongst the super abundant GMO crops and jackpumps.

Have you seen the size of pickerel, pike perch & steelheads lately?

The mind blowing evolution of agriculture has mind blowing benefits.

We aren't rolling the soil over destroying the mycological mats in the soils.

This mycological system is the key to the non-fertlizer reliant abundance of the past when the Pioneers settled here.

Run off from agland into the watershed is plumetting. The earth is full of water again as are the alkaline and calcite wells you once so admired.
 
Spade
+2
#27
The pike and pickerel fishery has collapsed in Alberta and to a lesser extent in Saskatchewan. Look at government reports. Have a good one; I am off to save the world.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Spade View Post

The pike and pickerel fishery has collapsed in Alberta and to a lesser extent in Saskatchewan. Look at government reports. Have a good one; I am off to save the world.

Give the world my best regards!
 
taxslave
#29
Gotta look at the positives of climate change. Assume for a moment that the truthers are right and the globe is warming. Much of Canada is way too cold to grow crops despite lots of daylight. We stand to be a major source of world food supply. The arctic will be ice free significantly cutting shipping costs from the west coast to Europe, not to mention the ability to have major ports in the arctic, not to mention access to the natural resources in the North.
If the sea level raises 82M I have waterfront property. Somehow I just don't see a downside worth worrying about.
 
Locutus
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

Six civilization

just what is a "six civiliation" dude?

Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

Then you're a troll with ZERO credibility.

and one that cannot spell-check, copyright, link, image insert or internet.
 

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