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Europe's Chill Linked To Disease (Black Death Caused Little Ice Age?)
bbc ^ | 2-27-2006

Posted on 02/27/2006 10:53:31 AM PST by blam

Europe's chill linked to disease

By Kate Ravilious

Bubonic plague may have wiped out over a third of Europe's population

Europe's "Little Ice Age" may have been triggered by the 14th Century Black Death plague, according to a new study.

Pollen and leaf data support the idea that millions of trees sprang up on abandoned farmland, soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

This would have had the effect of cooling the climate, a team from Utrecht University, Netherlands, says.

The Little Ice Age was a period of some 300 years when Europe experienced a dip in average temperatures.

Dr Thomas van Hoof and his colleagues studied pollen grains and leaf remains collected from lake-bed sediments in the southeast Netherlands.

Monitoring the ups and downs in abundance of cereal pollen (like buckwheat) and tree pollen (like birch and oak) enabled them to estimate changes in land-use between AD 1000 and 1500.

Pore clues

The team found an increase in cereal pollen from 1200 onwards (reflecting agricultural expansion), followed by a sudden dive around 1347, linked to the agricultural crisis caused by the arrival of the Black Death, most probably a bacterial disease spread by rat fleas.

This bubonic plague is said to have wiped out over a third of Europe's population.

Counting stomata (pores) on ancient oak leaves provided van Hoof's team with a measure of the fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide for the same period.

This is because leaves absorb carbon dioxide through their stomata, and their density varies as carbon dioxide goes up and down.

"Between AD 1200 to 1300, we see a decrease in stomata and a sharp rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, due to deforestation we think," says Dr van Hoof, whose findings are published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

But after AD 1350, the team found the pattern reversed, suggesting that atmospheric carbon dioxide fell, perhaps due to reforestation following the plague.

The researchers think that this drop in carbon dioxide levels could help to explain a cooling in the climate over the following centuries.

Ocean damper

From around 1500, Europe appears to have been gripped by a chill lasting some 300 years.

There are many theories as to what caused these bitter years, but popular ideas include a decrease in solar activity, an increase in volcanic activity or a change in ocean circulation.

The new data adds weight to the theory that the Black Death could have played a pivotal role.

Not everyone is convinced, however. Dr Tim Lenton, an environmental scientist from the University of East Anglia, UK, said: "It is a nice study and the carbon dioxide changes could certainly be a contributory factor, but I think they are too modest to explain all the climate change seen."

And Professor Richard Houghton, a climate expert from Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, US, believes that the oceans would have compensated for the change.

"The atmosphere is in equilibrium with the ocean and this tends to dampen or offset small changes in terrestrial carbon uptake," he explained.

Nonetheless, the new findings are likely to cause a stir.

"It appears that the human impact on the environment started much earlier than the industrial revolution," said Dr van Hoof.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antonineplague; blackdeath; chill; disease; europes; godsgravesglyphs; linked; littleiceage; plagueofathens; plagueofjustinian; yersiniapestis
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1 posted on 02/27/2006 10:53:35 AM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.

I'll pick box #1, A decrease in solar activity.

2 posted on 02/27/2006 10:54:41 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
"The atmosphere is in equilibrium with the ocean and this tends to dampen or offset small changes in terrestrial carbon uptake," he explained.

I always thought there was more O2 at the time of the dinosaurs.

3 posted on 02/27/2006 10:58:05 AM PST by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN (Toon Town, Iran...........where reality is the real fantasy.)
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To: blam
This theory sounds as good as any created by randomly cutting and pasting words from a article in the NYT.
4 posted on 02/27/2006 10:59:29 AM PST by Fielding (Sans Dieu Rien)
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To: blam
OK I'm convinced.
No matter how silly, anything that can be written wiil be assumed to be as "serious" and "valuable" as anything else.

Silliest notion I've ever heard!

5 posted on 02/27/2006 11:06:38 AM PST by Publius6961 (Multiculturalism is the white flag of a dying country)
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To: blam

Science is going down the tubes.


6 posted on 02/27/2006 11:08:04 AM PST by Kirkwood ("When the s*** hits the fan, there is enough for everyone.")
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To: blam

More evdence that these global warming people are idiots.


7 posted on 02/27/2006 11:08:27 AM PST by BadAndy (The DemocRATs are the enemy's most effective weapon.)
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To: blam

They left out a crucial piece.

The little Ice Age started to end in the 1630s, and corresponded with...the widespread adoption of Virginia tobacco in Western Europe!

That's right, my friends, it was all those people lighting up tobacco (cultivated by the rape of North America, the slaughter of the Indi... sorry, Native Americans ... perpetrated by the slave trade...that started us on the upward path towards global warming.

Therefore, the only way we can truly end the menace of global warming is by banning all smoking everywhere in the world, reforesting Eastern North America, and having all white people emigrate to Europe.

And that is how tobacco and slavery caused global warming, and why it's all America's fault.


8 posted on 02/27/2006 11:19:45 AM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: blam

"Ashes, ashes, all fall down!"


9 posted on 02/27/2006 11:19:45 AM PST by meandog (Five pillars of Islam: Allah's Mohammad is a 1. pedophile, 2. pimp, 3. puke, 4. pustz, 5. pig!)
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To: blam

At this point in history, would this drop in temperature not be documented?


10 posted on 02/27/2006 11:22:51 AM PST by andrew2527
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To: Vicomte13

And that is how tobacco and slavery caused global warming, and why it's all America's fault...and Bush is an American, therefor...


11 posted on 02/27/2006 11:23:07 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Peace Begins in the Womb)
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To: blam

It was transferred by mice, 1,000's of mice and it did not stop until the huge london fires that killed most of the mice.


12 posted on 02/27/2006 11:24:36 AM PST by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
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To: blam

In a time when pile of PC junk science grows larger by the minute, this hunk of junk stands out from the pack.


13 posted on 02/27/2006 11:25:34 AM PST by Ditto
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: blam
Little Ice age was caused by period of low solar activity. Maunder Minimum 1645-1715 (also the reign of Louis XIV of France the 'Sun King') The 60+ years of solar minimum had a great impact on the Earth, but, it was caused by the Sun putting out less energy. People who write this stuff forget that people can check behind them now. Like AlBore and the internet.

Looks like a lot of this story came from the Wikipedia. Very similar wording
15 posted on 02/27/2006 11:32:09 AM PST by Conan the Librarian (The Best in Life is to crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and the Dewey Decimal System)
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To: blam

This study will be used to rationalize "reducing" world population by 1/3 in order to combat global warming.


16 posted on 02/27/2006 11:39:10 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: blam

These global warming goofballs are making up their "science" as they go along.

Evolutionists, are you taking note? This is the same "bandwagon" mindset that passes itself off for scientific thought in modern universities.

Real science proposes a hypothesis, and is willing to discard it if the evidence and predictions run to the contrary. Evolutionists instead continually revise their hypothesis into an ever more malleable, all-encompassing glob to accommodate observations without questioning their fundamental premise that life brought itself into existence.


17 posted on 02/27/2006 11:43:03 AM PST by Elpasser
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To: blam
Pollen and leaf data support the idea that millions of trees sprang up on abandoned farmland, soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

I'll bet they eventually became 'old-growth' forests, too. The worst kind.

We all learned as children from Hansel and Gretel that forests are evil. This is the scientific proof.

18 posted on 02/27/2006 11:51:44 AM PST by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: blam
I just finished reading a book about the Bubonic Plague. It's hard for us to comprehend the staggering death toll. It wasn't as though one out of every three people dropped dead - there were certain areas (most of Scotland and Poland) and some isolated towns and villages that were untouched. There were many more cities and towns were everybody died. One of the major problems was that there was no one left in some of these places to bury the dead.

Some of the writings and diaries left by the survivors are heartbreaking to read. It was a terrible death - huge growths appeared under a persons arms, their skin turned dark purple, they became delerious and usually died within a few days.

The people of that time tried everything they could think of - but since they knew nothing about how viruses travel, it was all to no avail. Many thought it was the end of the world. It was, for millions.

19 posted on 02/27/2006 11:53:28 AM PST by Tokra (I think I'll retire to Bedlam.)
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To: blam
Actually it was the other way around. The Bubonic Plague was caused by the lower temps. The lower temps resulted in mass starvation and mal nutrition, which lowered resistance to disease. That added to the ignorance about rats(before the French ate all of them) and hygiene.

The Plague could reside in you, and when you were weakest emerge and kill you in days. It would not be a problem in this time.
20 posted on 02/27/2006 11:54:37 AM PST by stubernx98 (cranky, but reasonable)
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