Mini-ice age contributed to fall of Roman Empire

By analyzing 1,500-year-old tree-rings, scientists have found that temperatures dropped an average of three degrees celsius during the 6th century.

Lead researcher Ulf Büntgen calls it: “The most dramatic cooling in the Northern Hemisphere in the past 2,000 years.”

Disease and famine spread across the world, killing millions of people over the ensuing centuries and contributing to the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Meanwhile, the cooling brought more rain to the Arabian Peninsula. The ensuing increase in vegetation  allowed the Arab Empire to bloom, affording it a larger army.

The researchers believe this cooling, which they dubbed the Late Antique Little Ice Age, was triggered by three volcanic eruptions in 536, 540 and 547CE.

I would take it one step further, of course, and propose that those eruptions were triggered by the sunspot cycle.

Thanks to Vance for this link

20 thoughts on “Mini-ice age contributed to fall of Roman Empire

    • It is the slow down of the suns output which can affect the climate of the earth. Less sun spots are a sign of this slow down.
      The weakening of the suns magnetic field also causes turmoil inside our own planet which is leading to a rise in earth tremors and volcanic eruptions.

      This web site is interesting:

      • ‘The weakening of the Sun’s magnetic field’. It’s Earth’s magnetic field that is weakening, Don. Pretty dramatically, I think.
        SuspiciousObservers. Is a great resource, and the more folks know about it, the better. The research that is carried out by Ben Davidson and co is brilliant. They are true scientists.

  1. The old joke goes that it must have been warm during the time the Romans were in Britain or they couldn’t have worn those silly little skirts on Hadrian’s Wall on the border to Scotland.

    Perhaps they left when it did become too cold for those silly little skirts!

  2. A meteor wiped out most of england in 562 and also struck bolivia according to Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett.

    • —A meteor wiped out most of England in 562????? Anglo-Saxon England is a hobby of mine and that never happened. During the 560s AS England was going strong, battles all over the place, and priests happily converting many parts of the country. A meteor (or whatever they thought it was in those days) is not even mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.

  3. The Chinese Tang dynasty flourished around 6-7th cent AD. China was the richest per capita country on earth at that time, and probably going to do it again soon.

  4. Gravity!
    The Sun spot cycle is tied to the positions of the four Jovian Gas giants, in three phases, a High Output cycle called a solar warm period like the Roman, Medieval and the recent Modern Warm Period which ended in 2008, these normal last for around 140 years, which has a more circular orbit around the Solar System BarryCentre.
    A less ordered phase of low to medium output refereed to a Gleissberg cycle which repeats on a 87 year cycle. The Sun’s orbits around the Solar System BarryCentre are more trefoil in shape.
    A low output phase called a Grand Minimum which repeats on a 172 year cycle, normally lasting two cycles or 32 years. The Sun’s orbit around the Solar System BarryCentre during the AMP event is a very tight trefoil shape.
    The reason for the change in shape of the orbits is that matter in the solar system including the Sun, and all of the components of the Solar System, form a gravity well, with the Sun being 90% of that mass, the BarryCentre forms an additional smaller depression in the well, which the Sun attempts to fall into and fill, but fails due to its rotational and orbit speed around the BC.
    However, the BarryCentre moves with the other changing positions of the other large bodies in the Solar system, which the Sun attempts to fall into the lower point of the combined gravity well by changing, fairly abruptly, the shape of its orbit, in doing so, the changes in orbit affect the inner rocky planets, particularly if they have a planetary plate system like ours. These tugs on our mantle and the plates which float on it, give rise to more plate boundary activity, subduction, rift and hot spot volcanism. After all you can see the gravitation effects on our planet with your own eye at the sea side they are call tides.
    There are many peer reviewed papers which link Solar Grand Minimums with increased volcanic events, as we do not know just how many erupting rifts and volcanos there are under the surface of the oceans, all of them emitting CO2 and super-hot water, the increase in CO2 into the atmosphere in terms of 97% of it, may well be due to volcanism. The recent rift eruption in Iceland exceeded the combined output s of both the EU and North America in both SO2 and CO2 for one year in a 4 month eruption.
    We have yet to see the major T6/T7 eruption which accompanies Grand Solar Minimum’s, like the Laki eruption during Maunder, killed over 100,000 people in Europe due to its SO2 cloud becoming enveloped in a High Pressure system which settle over Europe during the harvest period.
    The three erruptions during LALIA 600AD killed many more than that.

  5. Here a few links to ponder:
    Late Antique Little Ice Age
    Extreme weather events of 535–536
    Cooling and societal change during the Late Antique Little Ice Age from 536 to around 660 AD
    Climatic changes during the first half of the Common Era have been suggested to play a role in societal reorganizations in Europe1, 2 and Asia3, 4. In particular, the sixth century coincides with rising and falling civilizations1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, pandemics7, 8, human migration and political turmoil8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. Our understanding of the magnitude and spatial extent as well as the possible causes and concurrences of climate change during this period is, however, still limited. Here we use tree-ring chronologies from the Russian Altai and European Alps to reconstruct summer temperatures over the past two millennia. We find an unprecedented, long-lasting and spatially synchronized cooling following a cluster of large volcanic eruptions in 536, 540 and 547 AD (ref. 14), which was probably sustained by ocean and sea-ice feedbacks15, 16, as well as a solar minimum17. We thus identify the interval from 536 to about 660 AD as the Late Antique Little Ice Age. Spanning most of the Northern Hemisphere, we suggest that this cold phase be considered as an additional environmental factor contributing to the establishment of the Justinian plague7, 8, transformation of the eastern Roman Empire and collapse of the Sasanian Empire1, 2, 5, movements out of the Asian steppe and Arabian Peninsula8, 11, 12, spread of Slavic-speaking peoples9, 10 and political upheavals in China13.
    Subject terms:

  6. Had the Eastern Roman & the Sassanian Empires not fought one another to a standstill & depleted their manpower in the late 6th & 7th centuries AD, then the Arabs, probably would not have been successful in waging Jihad & capturing so much territory. There was a power vacuum at that time & Islam was able to fill it.

    The Plague of Justinian is thought to have be transmitted by fleas & the Romano British in South West England still traded with Constantinople. It has been suggested that plague arrived on ships & devastated the numbers of these survivors of Roman Britain, such that they could no longer resist the Anglo Saxon push into their territory. Many Romano British took ship south to western France, hence that part of Roman Amorica eventually became known as Britanny.

  7. A few years ago there was an extensive TV programme on the year 535 AD when Mt Toba opposite what is now Singapore,Blew up & became Lake Toba , starting A decade of famine & human strife. See Wikiepedia. (the uncensored bit)

    • I was wrong the island is correct the year is wrong,the volcano was krakatoa the 535 AD explosion separated the land mass which became Sumatra & Java islands. Put my error down old age.

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