Global Cooling, Not Global Warming, Doomed the Ancients

May 30, 2014

(CLIMATE CHANGE DISPATCH Global cooling rather than global warming or “climate change” doomed ancient societies, despite the New York Times’ latest efforts to invent a new global warming alarm.

By James Taylor, Forbes Blogs

The Times published an article Tuesday claiming “climate change” doomed ancient societies to famine and collapse, but those societies thrived while temperatures were significantly warmer than today. It was only when temperatures cooled that shorter growing seasons and less favorable climate conditions doomed crop production and the food supplies of ancient civilizations. Palmyra in Syria -Ancient ruins tourism destinationsThe Times noted an extreme and prolonged drought lasting up to 300 years decimated crop production in Greece, Israel, Lebanon and Syria. According to the Times, around 1,200 B.C. “A centuries-long drought in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean regions, contributed to — if not caused — widespread famine, unrest and ultimately the destruction of many once prosperous cities.” Ignoring the fact that droughts, crop failures and famines have occurred throughout human history and likely always will, the Times claimed “climate change” must have caused the ancient tragedy. It is true, as the Times noted, that the Earth’s climate was changing around 1,200 B.C. Then again, the Earth’s climate is always changing. What was remarkable about the climate in 1,200 B.C., however, is the Earth’s climate was becoming cooler rather than warmer. The global cooling did not spare Eastern Mediterranean civilizations. A recent study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Archaeological Science reported a cooling of sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea around 1,200 B.C. The cooling not only shortened growing seasons, but also resulted in declining rainfall. The Times emphasized the devastating impact of this global cooling – er, make that “climate change”:

“The era that followed is known as the first Dark Ages, during which the thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C. suddenly ceased to exist. It took decades, and even hundreds of years in some areas, for the people in these regions to rebuild.”

Yes, as the Earth cooled, these ancient civilizations were punished by crop failures and famine. So, what finally put an end to such devastating catastrophes? The answer is The Roman Warm Period – a period of equally rapid warming that benefited crop production and facilitated the rise of Mediterranean-area civilizations such as ancient Rome. It wasn’t generic climate “change” that doomed Mediterranean civilizations around 1,200 B.C., just as it wasn’t generic climate “change” that revitalized them several hundred years later. Cool temperatures shorten growing seasons. Cool temperatures also reduce evaporation from the seas, resulting in less precipitation over land. The result is fewer months to grow crops, colder temperatures during the growing season, and less rainfall to hydrate the crops. Crop failures and famine predictably follow. By contrast, warmer temperatures lengthen growing seasons, facilitate more oceanic evaporation, and produce more vital rainfall to hydrate crops. Climate “change” doesn’t destroy crop production, climate cooling does. History repeated this lesson around 1,200 A.D. after the Medieval Warm Period. Human civilization thrived when dramatic warming ushered in enhanced crop production and the more beneficial climate of the Medieval Warm Period. The climate “change” that ushered in the Medieval Warm Period was a strikingly fortunate event for human health and welfare. By contrast, when cooler temperatures ended the Medieval Warm Period and ushered in the Little Ice Age, crop production declined, famines grew more regular, extreme weather and climate events worsened, and human health and welfare suffered. When the Little Ice Age fortunately ended a little more than a century ago, crop production once again increased, famines became rarer, extreme weather events became less frequent and severe, and human health and welfare dramatically improved. Those improvements continue to this day, especially regarding the crop production that doomed ancient civilizations during a colder climate. As the Earth continues its modest recovery from the depths of the Little Ice Age, crop production continually benefits and sets new records seemingly every year. Ancient civilizations were doomed by global cooling, while ancient and modern civilizations have benefited from global warming. In its agenda-driven desire to promote yet another fictitious global warming scare – er, now it’s “climate change” scare – the Times would have its readers believe climate “change” decimates crops and dooms human civilizations. Perhaps so, but only when such “change” results from cooling temperatures.