Friday, 24 July 2015

Sudden Climate Change 6000 Years Ago!

Akkadian Empire
Abrupt climate change may have rocked the cradle of civilization: Effects of climate on human societies -- ScienceDaily

This discovery could be really exciting news for bible literalists, who are obliged to believe highly unlikely tales with no evidence whatsoever. For example, one tale which seems to be precious to them is the story of how their magic invisible friend once drowned everything in a global flood. Apart from feeling smug about the fact that this monstrous genocide didn't involve them, it's hard to see why they find this story so compelling, but that's another matter.

Imagine then, if some of those scientists that creationists so despise because they keep finding out inconvenient things, actually came up with evidence that there was indeed a quite sudden climate change at about the time their story was set and showed that this matched changes in human societies, probably showing a causal relationship. For example, if scientists showed that 6000 years ago the weather quite suddenly became very much wetter and that this coincided with the disappearance of major civilizations close to the place in which this tale was set! What could be better than scientifically verified evidence? What more proof would be required and how could science refute this? Why? That would mean a denial of science itself!

We would never hear the end of it. Creationist websites would be full of it; creationist preachers would be begging for even more money to 'spread the good news' via private jets and another limo; inconsequential also-ran geologists and engineers, approaching retirement and facing a pension deficit, would rush into print to write a bad science book for scientifically illiterate fundamentalists, and the Discovery Institute and it's dutiful minions would demand the Bible be taught as science in schools and that the entire scientific community publically apologise for misleading people about evolution and the Big Bang.

So how disconcerting it must be then that the science doesn't show that at all. Those nasty scientists have done it again! In fact a paper published today in Quarterly Science Review by a team from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, Fl, USA, shows that it got very much drier instead, and has stayed that way for the last 6000 years, give or take a few periodic fluctuations.

Abstract
We present a high-resolution (sub-decadal to centennial), multi-proxy reconstruction of aeolian input and changes in palaeohydrological conditions based on a 13000 Yr record from Neor Lake's peripheral peat in NW Iran. Variations in relative abundances of refractory (Al, Zr, Ti, and Si), redox sensitive (Fe) and mobile (K and Rb) elements, total organic carbon (TOC), δ13CTOC, compound-specific leaf wax hydrogen isotopes (δD), carbon accumulation rates and dust fluxes presented here fill a large gap in the existing terrestrial paleoclimate records from the interior of West Asia. Our results suggest that a transition occurred from dry and dusty conditions during the Younger Dryas (YD) to a relatively wetter period with higher carbon accumulation rates and low aeolian input during the early Holocene (9000–6000 Yr BP). This period was followed by relatively drier and dustier conditions during middle to late Holocene, which is consistent with orbital changes in insolation that affected much of the northern hemisphere. Numerous episodes of high aeolian input spanning a few decades to millennia are prevalent during the middle to late Holocene. Wavelet analysis of variations in Ti abundances as a proxy for aeolian input revealed notable periodicities at 230, 320, and 470 years with significant periodicities centered around 820, 1550, and 3110 years over the last 13000 years. Comparison with palaeoclimate archives from West Asia, the North Atlantic and African lakes point to a teleconnection between North Atlantic climate and the interior of West Asia during the last glacial termination and the Holocene epoch.

We further assess the potential role of abrupt climate change on early human societies by comparing our record of palaeoclimate variability with historical, geological and archaeological archives from this region. The terrestrial record from this study confirms previous evidence from marine sediments of the Arabian Sea that suggested climate change influenced the termination of the Akkadian empire. In addition, nearly all observed episodes of enhanced dust deposition during the middle to late Holocene coincided with times of drought, famine, and power transitions across the Iranian Plateau, Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean region. These findings indicate that while socio-economic factors are traditionally considered to shape ancient human societies in this region, the influence of abrupt climate change should not be underestimated.


Starting about 9000 years ago in the early part of the Holocene in the 'Fertile Crescent', stretching from the Arabian Gulf up into modern-day Iraq, Iran and Syria across the north of Arabia and down the Mediterranean coast to Northern Egypt, the prevailing climate was considerably wetter than it is today, probably coinciding with the rise of agriculture and the growth of the first city states. At about 6000 years ago though, it got abruptly very much drier and dustier, just when the biblical myth says it got very wet indeed.

The team have mapped the known rise and fall of civilisations, and political and demographic changes in the region and shown that they correlate with cyclical climate changes recorded in core samples taken from peripheral peat from Neor Lake in Northwestern Iran, going back 13,000 years (which is itself a problem for Bible literalists to ignore). The evidence presented in this paper suggests that socio-economic factors alone may not be responsible for shaping human civilization in the area, and that climate change influenced by changes in the North Atlantic may have been an important factor.

In a classical piece if creationist doublethink, the exact opposite of what would have been conclusive proof of creationism is never conclusive proof against it. In fact, it's irrelevant and so can be ignored. More often than not, it's merely a test of faith, so ignoring it makes it conclusive proof of creationism after all. Heads we win; tails you lose. So we can be certain that no fundamentalist Christian will ever admit this finding actually refutes Bible literalism, but then what evidence could?

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