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      The causality analysis of climate change and large-scale human crisis

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          Recent studies have shown strong temporal correlations between past climate changes and societal crises. However, the specific causal mechanisms underlying this relation have not been addressed. We explored quantitative responses of 14 fine-grained agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and demographic variables to climate fluctuations from A.D. 1500-1800 in Europe. Results show that cooling from A.D. 1560-1660 caused successive agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and demographic catastrophes, leading to the General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century. We identified a set of causal linkages between climate change and human crisis. Using temperature data and climate-driven economic variables, we simulated the alternation of defined "golden" and "dark" ages in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere during the past millennium. Our findings indicate that climate change was the ultimate cause, and climate-driven economic downturn was the direct cause, of large-scale human crises in preindustrial Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.

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          Most cited references 22

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          European seasonal and annual temperature variability, trends, and extremes since 1500.

          Multiproxy reconstructions of monthly and seasonal surface temperature fields for Europe back to 1500 show that the late 20th- and early 21st-century European climate is very likely (>95% confidence level) warmer than that of any time during the past 500 years. This agrees with findings for the entire Northern Hemisphere. European winter average temperatures during the period 1500 to 1900 were reduced by approximately 0.5 degrees C (0.25 degrees C for annual mean temperatures) compared to the 20th century. Summer temperatures did not experience systematic century-scale cooling relative to present conditions. The coldest European winter was 1708/1709; 2003 was by far the hottest summer.
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            Some recent development in a concept of causality

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              The concept of scale and the human dimensions of global change: a survey

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                October 18 2011
                October 18 2011
                October 03 2011
                October 18 2011
                : 108
                : 42
                : 17296-17301
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1104268108
                3198350
                21969578
                © 2011
                Product

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