Global Warming Blamed For Fall of Roman Empire AND Medieval Plague

I’m not to going to say too much on this article from the Discovery channel, as frankly the levels of stupidity it displays are just jaw-dropping.

Here’s a short quote, then you can follow the link if you want to. And then weep for the future of humanity, that this sort of thing gets taken seriously these days . . .

A prolonged period of wet weather spurred the spread of the Bubonic plague in medieval times, according to a new study. And a 300-year spell of unpredictable weather coincided with the decline of the Roman Empire.

Again and again, the data suggest, climate has impacted culture in dramatic ways. Unusually extreme and frequent shifts in weather patterns between 250 and 550, for example, coincided with a period of exceptional upheaval in Europe’s political and economic situations.

Climate also seems to have played a role in the epidemic of Black Death, which killed about half the population of Central Europe by 1347. For decades leading up to the outbreak, the new study found, wetter summers and a major cold snap corresponded with the onset of a Little Ice Age. Those conditions may have contributed to widespread famine and overall poor health, predisposing people to catch the plague.

Discovery Channel. Climate Changes Linked to Fall of Roman Empire.

Yes, and it was getting warmer when the First World War broke out. And didn’t Napoleon start his campaigns in Winter a lot? And last week, during that cold snap, a fight broke out at the local pub. Maybe that was caused by climate change.

And these are the people they’re giving all the research money to.

9 responses to “Global Warming Blamed For Fall of Roman Empire AND Medieval Plague

  1. Climate also seems to have played a role in the epidemic of Black Death, which killed about half the population of Central Europe by 1347. For decades leading up to the outbreak, the new study found, wetter summers and a major cold snap corresponded with the onset of a Little Ice Age. Those conditions may have contributed to widespread famine and overall poor health, predisposing people to catch the plague.

    I think this part says that it was the cold that spread the plague. I seem to recall aslo that the Roman Warm Period coincided with the rise of the Roman Empire.

    The Little Ice Age commenced around ~1250.

    References:
    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html
    http://www.eh-resources.org/timeline/timeline_lia.html
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Glossary/?mode=alpha&seg=l&segend=n
    http://tinyurl.com/46emqj5
    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/05/gullible-rudd-steps-right-in-it/

  2. Small correction:
    “I think this part says that it was the cold that spread the plague.”

    should read

    “I think this part says that it was the cold that coincided with the spread of plague.”

  3. It’s really amazing how ‘causal relationships’ are sooooo easy to see from a thousand or two years away. Of course, you really do have to be looking backwards; you can’t see a blasted thing otherwise.

  4. Pingback: The Coming Climate Change - Page 576 - CNCzone.com-The Largest Machinist Community on the net!

  5. You have to do better than this if this is to become a quality climate blog. The cooling climate has been proposed as a contributory factor in the Black Death before now. Poor harvests in medieval times led to weakened resistance to disease. There were in fact regular outbreaks of plague, the Black Death being the most severe. In some/many cases it is likely that climate change has altered the course of history. It is a fact that the winter of 1941-2 was one of extreme cold in Russia. That helped to hinder the Nazi advance. I would advise you read HH Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World for a mature appraisal of how climate really can affect the course of human activity.

  6. this is nothing new by any means. you’ve got this one TOTALLY wrong. you’re missing the point. wilson, above, has it spot-on. I suggest you read the excellent ‘the winds of change – climate, weather, and the destruction of civilizations’ by eugene linden (who is not an AGW idiot). one small excerpt:
    “…The medieval warm period, which began in about AD900, created wealth and prosperity throughout europe. perhaps no group in europe was more favoured by the mild weather than the norse. the onset of the warm period coincides with the peak expansion of viking influence.” there’s a lot more detail about the norse and their decline along with many other civilisations. the point is, the climate DOES affect human society – how can it not? areas that are inhabited will become uninhabitable or unfarmable by virtue of the fact that the climate changes – sometimes very quickly, as it always has done, on its own. that’s all there is to it.

    i haven’t seen the documentary, so i don’t know if they are trying to tie it to AGW and say “if we don’t do anything, man, the polar bears are gonna, like, die man!”.

    but the basic assertion that the vagaries of the climate have had a huge affect on humanity is correct.

    • WTF? Of course climate has an effect, never said it didn’t.

      But everything has some effect on everything. Climate is not a deciding factor in historical events. If it was, then England’s power would have fallen during the LIA. Instead, it rose and rose.

      There’s a big difference between correlation and causation. To say that climate is totally irrelevant is of course incorrect. But to assign it primary significance and try and link it as a causal factor in the fall of the roman empire or the spread of the bubonic plague is truly specious and an example of very feeble reasoning. It’s the conspiracy theory school of thought – post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

  7. WTF indeed!

    I’ve just read the article you link to, and they make themselves perfectly clear. i don’t see anything wrong with what they’re saying. what’s the problem? they’re not assigning the climate primary significance:

    “Climate change wasn’t necessarily the cause of these and other major historical events, researchers say. But the study, which pieced together a year-by-year history of temperature and precipitation in Western Europe, dating back 2,500 years, offers the most detailed picture yet of how climate and society have been intertwined for millennia.”

    all they are saying is exactly what i said at the end of my first post: “…the vagaries of the climate have had a huge affect on humanity”. that’s all.

    there’s really no story here. you’re reading far too much into this…

  8. England’s power rose and rose during the LIA? What about Scotland? The 1690s saw famine, and reports of cannibalism. The Darien venture was a last desparate throw. Harvests couldn’t have been all that good in England either. What of significance did happen in England from 1650 to 1700? A lot of trouble mainly and no great rise in power. After 1707 it was called Britain. No marks. See me after prep.

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