Climate change is not new....
I wonder if there was a clamour in the Tang dynasty to curb emissions...
NEW research suggests that climate change led to the collapse of the most splendid imperial dynasty in China’s history and to the extinction of the Maya civilisation in Central America more than 1,000 years ago.
There has never been a satisfactory explanation for the decline and fall of the Tang emperors, whose era is viewed as a highpoint of Chinese civilisation, while the disappearance of the Maya world perplexes scholars.
Now a team of scientists has found evidence that a shift in monsoons led to drought and famine in the final century of Tang power. The weather pattern may also have spelt doom for the Maya in faraway Mexico at about the same time, they say.
Both ruling hierarchies at the start of the 10th century were victims of poor rainfall and starvation among their peoples when harvests failed.
The martial arts honed during the fall of the Tang still provide a staple of modern Chinese epic films and video games, while Mel Gibson, the actor-director, has just released Apocalypto, a blood-drenched film set in the last days of the Maya.
The Maya practised human sacrifices to please the gods of rain and Chinese soothsayers were employed by the court to divine the seasons, yet neither could have predicted the slow-motion catastrophe resulting from the changing weather.
The cause was to be found in the migration of a band of heavy tropical rain, which moves in response to phenomena such as El Niño (a weather effect created by huge surface temperature fluctuations in tropical eastern Pacific waters), the scientists argued in an article in Nature last week.
The effect was to end two golden ages which existed in ignorance of one another on opposite sides of the world.
The scientific team, led by Gerald Haug of Germany’s national geosciences research centre, found that a massive movement in tropical rainfall took place in early 900 both in China and in Central America.