It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
In a presentation to the BA Festival of Science on September 7, Dr. Nick Brooks will challenge existing views of how and why civilisation arose. He will argue that the earliest civilisations developed largely as a by-product of adaptation to climate change and were the products of hostile environments.
"Civilisation did not arise as the result of a benign environment which allowed humanity to indulge a preference for living in complex, urban, 'civilized' societies," said Dr. Brooks.
"On the contrary, what we tend to think of today as 'civilisation' was in large part an accidental by-product of unplanned adaptation to catastrophic climate change. Civilisation was a last resort - a means of organising society and food production and distribution, in the face of deteriorating environmental conditions."
He added that for many, if not most people, the development of civilisation meant a harder life, less freedom, and more inequality. The transition to urban living meant that most people had to work harder in order to survive, and suffered increased exposure to communicable diseases. Health and nutrition are likely to have deteriorated rather than improved for many.
The new research challenges the widely held belief that the development of civilization was simply the result of a transition from harsh, unpredictable climatic conditions during the last ice age, to more benign and stable conditions at the beginning of the Holocene period some 10,000 years ago.
Such claims have now been sharply contradicted by the most comprehensive study yet of global temperature over the past 1,000 years. A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown that today's temperatures are neither the warmest over the past millennium, nor are they producing the most extreme weather - in stark contrast to the claims of the environmentalists.
The review, carried out by a team from Harvard University, examined the findings of studies of so-called "temperature proxies" such as tree rings, ice cores and historical accounts which allow scientists to estimate temperatures prevailing at sites around the world.
The findings prove that the world experienced a Medieval Warm Period between the ninth and 14th centuries with global temperatures significantly higher even than today.
They also confirm claims that a Little Ice Age set in around 1300, during which the world cooled dramatically. Since 1900, the world has begun to warm up again - but has still to reach the balmy temperatures of the Middle Ages.
large climate changes in Europe/Near East during the last 15,000 calendar years (note that these dates are in 'real' years not radiocarbon years).
14,500 y.a. - rapid warming and moistening of climates. Rapid deglaciation begins.
13,500 y.a. - climates about as warm and moist as today's
13,000 y.a. 'Older Dryas' cold phase (lasting about 200 years) before a partial return to warmer conditions.
12,800 y.a. (+/- 200 years)- rapid stepwise onset of the intensely cold Younger Dryas. Much drier than present over much of Europe and the Middle East, though wetter-than-present conditions at first prevailed in NW Europe.
11,500 y.a. (+/- 200 years) - Younger Dryas ends suddenly over a few decades, back to relative warmth and moist climates (Holocene, or Isotope Stage 1).
11,500 - 10,500 y.a. - climates possibly still slightly cooler than present-day.
9,000 y.a. - 8,200 y.a. - climates warmer and often moister than today's
about 8,200 y.a. - sudden cool phase lasting about 200 years, about half-way as severe as the Younger Dryas. Wetter-than-present conditions in NW Europe, but drier than present in eastern Turkey.
8,000-4,500 y.a. - climates generally slightly warmer and moister than today's.
(but; at 5,900 y.a. - a possible sudden and short-lived cold phase corresponding to the 'elm decline').
Since about 4,500 y.a. - climates fairly similar to the present
2,600 y.a. - relatively wet/cold event (of unknown duration) in many areas
(but; 1,400 y.a. [536-538 A.D.] wet cold event of reduced tree growth and famine across western Europe and possibly elsewhere).
(Followed by 'Little Ice Age' about 700-200 ya)
NASA Study Finds Increasing Solar Trend That Can Change Climate
Since the late 1970s, the amount of solar radiation the sun emits, during times of quiet sunspot activity, has increased by nearly .05 percent per decade, according to a NASA funded study.
"This trend is important because, if sustained over many decades, it could cause significant climate change," said Richard Willson, a researcher affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University's Earth Institute, New York. He is the lead author of the study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Magnetic Field Weakening in Stages, Old Ships' Logs Suggest
for National Geographic News
May 11, 2006
Earth's magnetic field is weakening in staggered steps, a new analysis of centuries-old ships logs suggests.
The field last flipped about 800,000 years ago, according to the geologic record.
But the field might not always be in steady decline, according to a new study appearing in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science. The data show that field strength was relatively stable between 1590 and 1840.
"It now looks as though it happens in steps rather than just one continuous fall," said David Gubbins, an earth scientist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
Records and Math
The magnetic field protects Earth from cosmic radiation. In its absence, scientists say, Earth would be subjected to more electrical storms that disrupt power grids and satellite communications (sun storm photos).