A network of interdisciplinary scholars studying past climate change
An article released today by lead author William D’Andrea in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences uses lake sediment cores from western Greenland to establish that temperatures in western Greenland have fluctuated dramatically over the past 6000 years. D’Andrea and his coauthors suggest that these prolonged shifts in temperature – sometimes by up to 4 degrees Celsius – coincided with and likely influenced the migration of Saqqaq, Dorset, Norse and Thule peoples. Historical climatologists have long understood that the Little Ice Age was first felt in the arctic, and have sought to link climatic cooling with the ebbing of Viking power for even longer. However, this study challenges many of our assumptions about the scale and chronology of Greenland’s climatic fluctuations, and their consequences for different types of human settlement. Also eye-opening is the attention this article has received in national media outlets. See the Yahoo! news version here.