The Hot Zone

Changes in human culture match major climate shifts

A changing climate changes the environment. We know that. But it also may change culture. In a lesson that could have some relevance to human societies today, geographers at the University of Ottawa examined the overlap between climatic change and the changes in tool technology and other artifacts by Native American tribes during three ancient time periods. Humans have lived on the North American continent long enough to have experienced dramatic shifts in climate caused by ice sheet expansion and... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on December 7, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past

A bipolar seesaw

How do you have an Ice Age and warming at the same time? As wacky as the climate patterns on Earth are right now, they’ve been stranger in human history. A paper in the journal Nature this week draws attention to the Younger Dryas conundrum about 13,000 years ago, a period of abrupt climate change. The last Ice Age was ending, owing to a shift in the Earth’s orientation to the sun, bringing us into the modern, temperate period that sustained the rise of civilizations. But the global warming... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on September 10, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past

The Big Freeze

Around 12,000 years ago, the Earth spun into The Big Freeze, a (geologically) brief cold snap known as the Younger Dryas event. Glaciers returned to parts of the Northern Hemisphere and humans who were around then probably shivered quite a bit. The Clovis people in North American, the first paleo-Indian inhabitants that made distinctive bone and ivory tools, took a population nosedive. What caused The Big Freeze? The prevailing theory is a shutdown of the ocean conveyor belt caused by a rapid influx... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 1, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past

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