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Thread: The impact of climate change on culture

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    The impact of climate change on culture





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    Not that I disagree, but for discussion's sake what the other side says.

    https://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=3

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    Let's not make something like this a political issue. Links posted containing agendas don't have a place in a scientifically oriented forum.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    It should be noticed that all the big demographic collapses and cultural annihilations happened during cold periods, the little ice ages. Warming always coincided with population expansion and thriving of cultures. There is a bigger danger for humanity if next Ice Age comes than from temps rising 1-2C in next 100 years. Finally, I would love to see the complete climate model, which can separate natural warming and cooling trends from man made. Otherwise we are just guessing what is the scale of impact of anthropogenic CO2 on Earth.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    For most people, including on this forum, if it agrees with one's political point of view it's viewed as objective science; if it doesn't it's viewed as political propaganda.

    My motto is to read both sides, check as much as possible, and then decide.

    On this issue, I don't think we have the right data to decide how much of the change is man-made versus a repeat of natural cycles we've seen before.

    I'll also go on record that I agree with LeBrok that warming is less problematical than Ice Ages. In fact, as I've speculated before, we're rather overdue for an Ice Age. Perhaps artificially warming the planet a bit may not been an altogether bad thing, although obviously we don't want it to go too far.

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    Technically, we are still in an ice age. But in warm period of ice age

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    I'll always take warming over an ice age. I despise winter and if I could, I'd ensure that summer never ends. Let's get that weather machine rolling and make it summer all year round and put an end to winter related depression and boredom. Yeah stay inside a log cabin with a fire going while drinking hot chocolate, what fun is that? BOOORRRING. Ok hot chocolate is good, but summer offers so much more.
    mmmmmmmmm dooouuughhhnuuuutz

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    Quote Originally Posted by davef View Post
    I'll always take warming over an ice age. I despise winter and if I could, I'd ensure that summer never ends. Let's get that weather machine rolling and make it summer all year round and put an end to winter related depression and boredom. Yeah stay inside a log cabin with a fire going while drinking hot chocolate, what fun is that? BOOORRRING. Ok hot chocolate is good, but summer offers so much more.
    I have good memories of the cold winters in the 1960's when I was a young boy.
    We were out playing on the ice, because all the fields were flooded in autumn.
    I allways came home after dark.

    Last edited by bicicleur; 14-11-17 at 12:25.

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    Land prices in Greenland have risen dramatically the last decade.
    It is mainly Chinese that buy the land.
    Now they can grow their tomatoes in greenhouses there.
    Before all the vegetables and fruits had to be imported and were very expensive.

    Yes, in prehistory a warming climate was allways a time of expansions and new opportunities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boreas View Post
    Technically, we are still in an ice age. But in warm period of ice age
    Wouldn't that mean that the earth is meant to get warmer?

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    Warming climate doesn't always mean opportunities.

    Old Kingdom of Egypt
    http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-25-1-what-caused-egypt-old-kingdom-to-collapse

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Ive never been convinced of global warming, at best its down to the earths wobble, like shifting seasons, we only have to wait 15000 years for the rain to return to Egypt and everyone will know. Maybe we go back there when U.K. gets abit chilly again :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boreas View Post
    Warming climate doesn't always mean opportunities.

    Old Kingdom of Egypt
    http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-25-1-what-caused-egypt-old-kingdom-to-collapse
    it says drought around 2200 BC
    where does it say climate warming?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    it says drought around 2200 BC
    where does it say climate warming?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4.2_kiloyear_event

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.2_kiloyear_event


    After more detail research, actually it seems that cooling in North Europe causes aridification in those regions.

    Interesting:
    Ottoman Fall and Little Ice Age
    http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/vie...8677-chapter-3

    the Eastern Mediterranean also descended into its worst drought in six centuries, punctuated by the coldest winters in memory.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    I dont think you can study DNA without understanding the climate in north europe around 6000 bc.
    As i understand it there was tsunami's and flooding on a Biblical scale. Most of the lowlands of
    denmark, germany, france, and Britain would have been saturated. wasnt rivers 10 times larger ?
    and many more of them. Think about it, any settlements that wasnt washed away would have very
    quickly run out of food, fresh water, and meds/herbs.
    Maybe the Black sea flood and the spilling into the med, was all 1 giant world changing flood ?

    I bet nearly half of europe was cleansed of people, its no surprise, climate change is the reason why
    we are all related.

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    Quote Originally Posted by O Neill View Post
    I dont think you can study DNA without understanding the climate in north europe around 6000 bc.
    As i understand it there was tsunami's and flooding on a Biblical scale. Most of the lowlands of
    denmark, germany, france, and Britain would have been saturated. wasnt rivers 10 times larger ?
    and many more of them. Think about it, any settlements that wasnt washed away would have very
    quickly run out of food, fresh water, and meds/herbs.
    Maybe the Black sea flood and the spilling into the med, was all 1 giant world changing flood ?

    I bet nearly half of europe was cleansed of people, its no surprise, climate change is the reason why
    we are all related.
    The cooling event 8kya, as big as it was, didn't change much for history of europe. It was before farming has spread into Europe and before any civilization started.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boreas View Post
    Interesting:
    Ottoman Fall and Little Ice Age
    http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/vie...8677-chapter-3

    the Eastern Mediterranean also descended into its worst drought in six centuries, punctuated by the coldest winters in memory.
    They said, it happened when it was only 0.6C cooler than average. When Roman Empire collapsed it was 2C cooler. So it wasn't the lack of morality in Rome that brought it down, it was the freakishly cold spells, lack of food, poverty, economical collapse and mas starvation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by O Neill View Post
    I dont think you can study DNA without understanding the climate in north europe around 6000 bc.
    As i understand it there was tsunami's and flooding on a Biblical scale. Most of the lowlands of
    denmark, germany, france, and Britain would have been saturated. wasnt rivers 10 times larger ?
    and many more of them. Think about it, any settlements that wasnt washed away would have very
    quickly run out of food, fresh water, and meds/herbs.
    Maybe the Black sea flood and the spilling into the med, was all 1 giant world changing flood ?

    I bet nearly half of europe was cleansed of people, its no surprise, climate change is the reason why
    we are all related.
    not in Europe, but in northern Africa
    the era of the 'Green Sahara' was interrupted for a few centuries
    before 8.2 ka northern Africa was full of HG
    during, it was empty
    after it was poopulated by herders

    8.2 ka probalby also had a big impact on SW Asia


    the 8.2 ka Doggerland megatsunami is unrelated to the 8.2 ka climate event

    the Black Sea flood happened - if at all - much earlier

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    They said, it happened when it was only 0.6C cooler than average. When Roman Empire collapsed it was 2C cooler. So it wasn't the lack of morality in Rome that brought it down, it was the freakishly cold spells, lack of food, poverty, economical collapse and mas starvation.
    I'd say it is a combination of both.
    Climate change made peacefull Nordic farmers transform into Germanic warrior tribes going southbound, but it is Rome's internal weakness and political chaos at times that made them unable to prevent the invasions in their overextended empire.

    Before the climate change grapes grew in Scandinavia. The climate change affected agriculture much more in the high north than in the Roman empire.

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    I do agree with your general statement that you can't blame only one cause.

    However, peaceful German farmers? I must disagree, Bicicleur...Even Wiki gets it right....they started trying to invade the Empire in the second century BC, long before the famines brought on by the climate change in the latter days of the Empire. There's an impressive list of battles here, some, to be sure, defensive ones, but many offensive in nature. At a certain point Rome recognized it couldn't absorb new territories, and everything became defensive in nature. As for the last wave of aggression, yes, climate had a hand in it, because of hunger, but also because they were being massacred by the Huns, who were also suffering because of poor grassland.

    I do agree that there were periods of internal problems in the Empire, but without the Germanic invasions, propelled by desperation, the Western Empire could have survived, as did the Eastern one. There was also famine in the empire.

    See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_Wars


    "the general population may not have recovered from the severe plague which struck the empire from 165-180, and likely again in 189.31 J.F. Gilliam convincingly argues that this plague did not kill half of the population as many early historians believed, but he may have gone too far in the other direction by estimating that it killed only 1 to 2 percent of the population. A 7 to 10 percent mortality rate for the empire seems more reasonable.32 Whatever the exact percentage was, it seems clear that this plague disrupted patterns in many archaeological data sets. These data sets show a considerable drop in meat consumption and a decline in the length of the average Roman femur, indicating a shorter and less healthy population. The argument that the climate of Europe at this time was cooler and dryer, if true, would only have contributed to the severity of the plague.33 Based on the evidence available, this plague contributed greatly to the overall population loss which took place during this period. Less than a century later during the worst portion of the Third-Century Crisis from 250 to 270, another large-scale plague struck the Roman Empire, this one starting in the east and spreading quickly, likely due to the movement of soldiers. When this plague is coupled with the widespread barbarian raids of this era it is reasonable to assume that the peasant population dropped substantially. This is especially true when one factors in the scores of slaves and tenant farmers, many of Germanic origin, who would have taken the opportunity presented by the confusion and disruption of this period to flee from their lands and masters.34 It was from this diminished population that the army had to find enough recruits to defend the empire.35"

    http://www.kyleharper.net/uncategori...-roman-empire/

    Plagues from the east along with a famine weakened population and invasions spelled the end.

    The Germans were by no means peaceful farmers:
    "In a victory over the Alamanni by Constantius, Ammianus states the defeated barbarians threw away their armor to run faster, and thus gives a rare mention of Germanic peoples wearing armor.80 In a separate engagement with these same barbarians won by Julian, Ammianus states the Alamanni held the advantage in both strength and height giving a key glimpse into the physical stature likely shared by many Germanic tribes.81 In a description of Persian troops, Ammianus tells us that their military training and discipline, combined with their practice of maneuvers and arms drills made them formidable opponents. They relied heavily upon their cavalry, manned by the nobility, and their regular infantry were armed like Roman gladiators.82"

    Many of them had also served in the Roman forces as mercenaries and been rewarded by territory within the Empire. Rome was harboring a fifth column in its midst, sort of like the ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe during World War II".

    http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewco...77&context=etd

    The Eastern Roman Empire handled things in a more ruthless but efficacious way for themselves:they exterminated as many of the Germanic mercenaries as they could manage, and pointed the rest toward the west.

    As for Christianity being the cause, that won't wash, although the internal religious disputes didn't help. If it were the cause, then why did the Eastern Empire survive for another 1000 years?

    Razib Khan has the following book always high on his list of the ten most important books he's ever read. I wouldn't go that far, but it's very good, and a short read to boot:

    "The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization" by Bryan Ward-Perkins
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...f_Civilization

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    Angela, you didn't notice the last line in my comment :
    The Nordic Bronze Age was initially characterized by a warm climate that began with a climate change around 2700 BC. The climate was comparable to that of present-day central Germany and northern France and permitted a relatively dense population and good opportunities for farming; for example, grapes were grown in Scandinavia at this time. A minor change in climate occurred between 850 BC and 760 BC, introducing a wetter, colder climate and a more radical climate change began around 650 BC.[3]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_Bronze_Age#Climate

    you're talking about 2nd cent BC
    this already started 6th cent BC, when peacefull Nordic farmers transformed into Germanic warrior tribes going southbound
    5th - 6th century they started to caome down from Scandinavia into Northern Germany
    but only 2nd cent BC Rome knew about this with Cimbres & Teutones
    by that time many Celtic tribes were already displaced by Germanic tribes

    is there any evidence that the climate change affected agriculture heavily in the Roman empire ? if it was so, it should have been mentioned in some writings
    the consequences far up north were much more drastic

    and don't talk to me about Germanic warfare and cruelty
    Caesar surely wasn't any less cruel
    and what about the useless and costly campaigns of Germanicus ?
    they even weren't advantagious to the Roman empire
    it was just a desperate and pittyfull attempt for personal glory
    he got the admiration of all Romans who's pride was obscuring their intelligence

    if Tiberius hadn't stopped him, he might have ruined the Roman Empire a few centuries earlier

    it is true that German mercenairies learned a lot in the Roman armies
    till 2nd cent BC Romans were fighting their wars themselves, after that they started to rely on mercenairies
    Rome had over 1 million inhabitants, most of them were totally unproductive and had to be maintained with resources from elsewhere in the Empire

    those were the seeds for the fall of Rome

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Angela, you didn't notice the last line in my comment :
    The Nordic Bronze Age was initially characterized by a warm climate that began with a climate change around 2700 BC. The climate was comparable to that of present-day central Germany and northern France and permitted a relatively dense population and good opportunities for farming; for example, grapes were grown in Scandinavia at this time. A minor change in climate occurred between 850 BC and 760 BC, introducing a wetter, colder climate and a more radical climate change began around 650 BC.[3]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_Bronze_Age#Climate

    you're talking about 2nd cent BC
    this already started 6th cent BC, when peacefull Nordic farmers transformed into Germanic warrior tribes going southbound
    5th - 6th century they started to caome down from Scandinavia into Northern Germany
    but only 2nd cent BC Rome knew about this with Cimbres & Teutones
    by that time many Celtic tribes were already displaced by Germanic tribes

    is there any evidence that the climate change affected agriculture heavily in the Roman empire ? if it was so, it should have been mentioned in some writings
    the consequences far up north were much more drastic

    and don't talk to me about Germanic warfare and cruelty
    Caesar surely wasn't any less cruel
    and what about the useless and costly campaigns of Germanicus ?
    they even weren't advantagious to the Roman empire
    it was just a desperate and pittyfull attempt for personal glory
    he got the admiration of all Romans who's pride was obscuring their intelligence

    if Tiberius hadn't stopped him, he might have ruined the Roman Empire a few centuries earlier

    it is true that German mercenairies learned a lot in the Roman armies
    till 2nd cent BC Romans were fighting their wars themselves, after that they started to rely on mercenairies
    Rome had over 1 million inhabitants, most of them were totally unproductive and had to be maintained with resources from elsewhere in the Empire

    those were the seeds for the fall of Rome
    In this sub-topic of the thread we were discussing the climate change that contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire, not the changes in the climate in the north in the third millennium BC. By the time the Germans entered the annals of history, they were a warrior people, if not against neighbors like Celts and peoples to their east, against each other.

    " the German tribes took pride in keeping a wide strip of depopulated land around their territory. This showed that they were a warlike people and so acted as a warning to potential attackers"
    "How Rome Fell", by Adrian Goldsworthy, p, 108.

    Raiding into the Empire was commonplace as well, "Villagers were burned, crops destroyed, herds driven off, and the people either massacred or enslaved."
    Ibid: 109.

    That's the way humans have always been, I'm afraid.

    The shepherds on the seven hills of Rome were relatively peaceful in the early days too. At some point they became militaristic and started trying to conquer their neighbors. It's what usually happens when any group of people find they need more grazing lands, or lands with better access to water. or access to trade routes. Expansion usually begins with a perceived scarcity of resources. I'll grant you that more scarcity leads to more violence usually, but it occurs in every culture. At some point the Germans became militaristic for similar reasons. They weren't any more "noble" than any other group of people, far from it. I would think that would be obvious.

    As to food shortages, in the centuries when they came into contact with the Roman world, they in fact experienced an explosion in population because they learned from the Romans more intensive agriculture techniques. Previously, since they didn't fertilize the soil or practice crop rotation, they would exhaust their fields and then have to move on to other lands to farm their crops. An analogy might be the cotton farmers in the American south. There's a whole section on this topic in Peter Heathers' book "Empires and Barbarians". So, when they went raiding into the Empire, it was primarily for booty. The tribes along the frontier had become very fond of Roman luxury goods and this was one way of acquiring them. Another way was selling slaves caught in wars with Celts, other peoples, or even other Germanic tribes. There are no "hero" ethnicities at this period of history, if there ever are anywhere, anytime.

    Things only became grimmer for them in terms of climate in the latter period of the Empire, and it was more severe the further east you went and the further from the Roman world, because their methods of agriculture were not as good, and, as I said, it was compounded by fear of the Huns, who were also moving west in search of pasture lands. It was rather like what is happening in Europe now, with swarms of hungry people trying to beat down the gates at the frontier forts.

    There were food shortages all over the empire after about 200AD, including in Italy, although Rome itself and the other major cities were insulated from the worst of it until North Africa fell to the Vandals. So, in fact, it was the barbarians who brought both real famine to the southern remnants of the Empire. It's all laid out in the links I provided, including material about the repeated plagues that hit Italy, for example, brought back by soldiers returning from the wars.

    Specifically as to the decline in agriculture related to climate change, you might want to read some of this...
    “Finally, unnoticed until now, Egypt, the Roman Empire’s breadbasket, appears to have enjoyed exceptionally favorable conditions for cereal production during this period. Nile river levels reºect precipitation over Ethiopia and East and Central Africa. Previous study has clariªed the history of Nile ºoods down to 299 a.d., but that abundant evidence (Figure 10) has never been exploited for climate history or economic performance. Before Rome annexed Egypt, all seven of nine securely recorded Nile ºoods in the earlier years of the ªrst century b.c. were below average. For the next 329 years, from the annexation in 30 b.c. to 299 a.d., reliable documents allow an estimate of the annual ºood in 199 different years, after which the available data become scarce until 642 a.d. (see Appendix [1]). They show a subtle but signiªcant pattern: The most favorable ºoods occurred more frequently between 30 b.c. and 155 a.d., as clearly shown when contrasted with those of the following period (see below).”

    “The three to ªve major volcanic eruptions that clustered from c. 235 to 285 potentially triggered commensurate episodes of rapid climate change (rcc), possibly reinforcing the solar forcing noted c. 260 (Table 1; Figure 7c). Such rapid short-term changes would have had a great capacity to disrupt food production during the most difªcult decades that the Roman Empire had faced so far; the political, military, and monetary crisis peaked between c. 250 and 290.”
    “On balance, the proxy data point to a relatively stable fourth century that warmed during its second half, at least in the northwestern provinces of the Empire.”

    “After 155 a.d., when the Empire struggled to face mounting political, military, and economic challenges, the best harvests became substantially more infrequent and the worse ones more common. The written records suggest that unusually favorable climate conditions for Egyptian food production prevailed throughout the ªrst two centuries of the Roman Empire, whereas the conditions underpinning food production appear to have been consistently less good from 155 to 299 a.d.”

    “But the crucial development was the severe drought of the fourth century that lasted nearly forty years, one of the worst in 2000 years.” (This was in Central Asia)

    “. The extent of this drought in time and space suggests that it played a critical role in driving the mobile pastoral federation that coalesced around the name of “Huns” somewhere east of the Don River, to seek pastures and predation farther to the west and south (Figures 8b and 9c). The dendrodata conªrm speculation about an environmental factor in the Hunnic invasion that goes back at least a century. Historical sources indicate that the Huns reached the Don River by the 370s and crossed it c. 375. Their attacks in the area north of the Black Sea drove the Goths to ºee into the Roman Empire and ultimately to attack it.”
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/774...5188283a99.pdf

    So, it doesn’t seem to be so much climate change in Europe that spelled the death knell, but climate change in Central Asia.

    As to your comments about the armies, there are numerous books and papers solely about that, but this response is already much too long. Suffice it to say that the depopulation from plague beginning in the 3rd century severely impacted the recruitment of soldiers for the legions. That’s one reason the Romans started to rely on barbarian troops. The other is that the Empire was trapped in a cycle where they needed to expand for markets, but had already reached a point where further expansion couldn’t be supported financially or in terms of manpower. Even legions of 600,000 men were not sufficient. Of course, had they been as ruthless as the Eastern Romans and later on the Islamic Empires, they would have just slaughtered most of the foreign troops.

    Also, Bicicleur, where did I ever say that the German warriors were "more cruel" in battle than the Roman soldiers? That was a rhetorical question, btw, I never did or would say such a nonsensical thing. War is a brutal and ugly business, then as now. I would never try to make comparisons like that, as I personally don't think there were any "good guys" in terms of warfare. Well...I might put the Huns at the bottom of the pile...I mean, mountains of tens of thousands of skulls? They de-populated huge areas that took a thousand years to recover.

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    Thank you for your reply Angela, and I realise we're getting off topic.

    I would like to add though that I don't think the Germanic tribes learned a lot about Roman agriculture.
    As you've mentioned yourself, when the Longobards invaded Italy, they hadn't learned much about anything but warfare.
    The subsistence of the Germans was agriculture and herding, but I guess in many warrior tribes the labour and food production was done by slaves or by other, subjected tribes.
    Northern Germany was considered infertile at that time and the Romans hadn't invested much in agriculture in Germania during the brief period they occupied it.
    The Francs learned a lot about agriculture in Gaul, but that was when Gaul wasn't Roman any more. That is the main reason why the Francs saved the local population and culture in Gaul, and it was the ground for their succes compared to other invading Germanic tribes.

    Probably sometimes some Germanic tribes attacked and killed other tribes just for glory and fame.
    But that was exactly what Germanicus did during his campaigns in Germany.
    His repeated campaigns were useless and purposeless, it had already been proven that for the Roman Empire Germania was a barren, useless land.
    He destroyed complete areas and killed whole tribes, man, women, children and elderly.
    Just for the honour and glory of the Roman Empire, it made him very popular.
    Luckily for the Roman Empire, the common sense of Tiberius stopped him before he exhausted all the available resources.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    I think that Holocene Climatic Optimum (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_climatic_optimum) was perfect - Northern Europe and Siberia were much warmer - winter warming of 3 to 9 °C and summer of 2 to 6 °C. Southern Europe - a bit cooler and wetter, Africa had more rain, Green Sahara was dotted with lakes, containing typical African lake crocodile and hippopotamus fauna. The current desert regions of Central Asia were extensively forested due to higher rainfall, and the warm temperate forest belts in China and Japan were extended northwards.And it was because (most probably) of changes in the Earth's orbit when the axial tilt was 24° and the nearest approach to the Sun was during the Northern Hemisphere's summer...

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    that was the time of the 'Green Sahara', which was halfway interrupted by the 8.2 ka climate event, a cold and dry period which lasted a few centuries

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