Brian Fagan, “Catastrophic Drought is Coming Back”, LongNow Foundation, 2007/03/09

Brian Fagen is a emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In his talk Fagan emphasized a wide view of human history as it unrolls in the landscape of climate. … we can see evidence from ice cores, tree rings, fossil pollen, and historical records, all pointing to the conclusion that people in the past have suffered through global warming periods before. So what happened?

Using data from truffle-hunting historians, Fagan told of how vineyard harvest records in Europe show that England became so warm during the period between 800-1250 AD that England not only had vineyards in its central provinces but it also exported wine to France. The medieval warm period had repercussions throughout society. Iceland and Scandinavia warmed up enough to grow cereal crops, tree lines elevated in mountain areas, and there were longer growing seasons everywhere on the continent.

This warming up of agriculture initiated the first vast clear-cutting of European forests. In the short 200 years between 1100 and 1300, from one-third to one-half of European wooded wilderness was deforested to make way for fields and pastures — shaping the lovely farm scenes we now associate with Europe. (Today only Poland has any remaining virgin forests).

Fagan says the myth of the medieval warm period is that it was warm. There was all kinds of weather extremes. In 1315 it started to rain for seven years. The newly cleared and naked hills eroded, dams burst, disease spread, and prolonged drought followed.And not just in Europe. Mesoamerica was jolted by long droughts. The Mayan pyramids at Tikal were engineered to act as water collection reservoirs. The collapse of their empire, and others in South America such as the Inca in Peru, are correlated to prolonged droughts.

Long Views » Blog Archive » Brian Fagan – Catastrophic drought is coming back

MP3 audio or Vorbis audio

Advertisements
About

David Ing blogs at coevolving.com , photoblogs at daviding.com , and microblogs at http://ingbrief.wordpress.com . See .

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Talk Audio Download
2 comments on “Brian Fagan, “Catastrophic Drought is Coming Back”, LongNow Foundation, 2007/03/09
  1. daviding says:

    Brian Fagen gives a convincing argument that instead of focusing on global warming, we should be focused on drought. Of course, the two are related, but water is a much more direct issue than temperature.

  2. […] http://redmonk.net/?p=2723 – bookmarked by 6 members originally found by ft11 on 2008-08-15 Brian Fagan, “Catastrophic Drought is Coming Back”, LongNow … […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Beyond this media queue
This content is syndicated to Twitter. For professional perspectives, look to Coevolving Innovations; for a photoblog, look to Reflections, Distractions.
  • 2017/08 Moments August 2017
    Quick trip to Hämeenlinna and Helsinki, and a cool summer in Toronto
  • 2017/07 Moments July 2017
    In July, I travelled no further than bicycling distance from my desk at home.
  • 2017/06 Moments June 2017
    Quiet month at my computer in Toronto, punctuated by afternoon bicycling, a son's university convocation and Toronto Jazz Festival concerts.
  • 2017/05 Moments May 2017
    Fairfield, Iowa; Iowa City; Iowa; Coralville, Iowa; East Moline, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois; Evanston, Illinois; Kerwood, Ontario; Toronto, Ontario
  • 2017/04 Moments April 2017
    Toronto, Ontario; Shanghai, PR China; Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • 2017/03 Moments March 2017
    Toronto, Ontario; Santa Clara, California; Milpitas, California; San Jose, California; Oakland, California; Hayward, California; Mountain View, California; Palo Alto, California; San Francisco, California; Mountain View, California; Half Moon Bay, California, Pescadero, California; Santa Cruz, California; Tokyo, Japan
Contact
I welcome your e-mail. If you don't have my address, here's a contact page.
%d bloggers like this: