Feeds

Romans, Han Dynasty, kick-started climate change

What have the Romans ever done for us?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Anthropogenic climate change may not be a recent phenomenon, with researchers reporting ice cores from the first two centuries AD show big spikes in methane prevalence.

Those two centuries, the researchers note, co-incide with the most prosperous periods for the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty.

A Nature paper, Natural and anthropogenic variations in methane sources during the past two millennia, speculates that deforestation and use of charcoal as a fuel made for increases in methane emissions.

The methane was detected in ice cores from Greelanand. The cores also show methane levels tailed off around 200 AD, a time at which deforestation slowed as Rome declined and the Han Dynasty collapsed.

Lead author Celia Sapart of Utrecht University told Reuters the team behind the paper say they have spotted a spike in methane emissions that corresponds roughly to the end of the dark ages, and a dip not longer after the Black Death.

One possible fly in the ointment is a rise in methane prevalence before the Little Ice Age.

Sapart feels the results mean climate scientists need to rethink what is a "normal" state for Earth's climate.

"The pre-industrial time was not a natural time for the climate - it was already influenced by human activity," she told Reuters, adding that "When we do future climate predictions we have to think about what is natural and what did we add." &reg

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.