Climate History Network

A network of interdisciplinary scholars studying past climate change

Article explores relationship between Greenland’s climatic and human histories

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.


About D Degroot

I am an assistant professor of environmental history at Georgetown University. My research explores flexibility and resilience in the face of climate change across the early modern world. I am the co-administrator of the Climate History Network, and the administrator of For more about my work, visit

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This entry was posted on May 31, 2011 by in In the News, Publications.
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