Was there Climate Change in the 6th century?
Was climate change taking place in the 6th century?
A couple of years ago, while studying an unrelated topic, I came across information about a cataclysmic global weather event which happened in the sixth century and which most of us have never heard of – and I remember being surprised that such a significant event could have been expunged from our cultural history.
The event, which endured for 12-18 months in AD 536-537, took the form of a thick, persistent dust veil which darkened the skies between Europe and Asia Minor and was recorded in historical records from Mongolia and Siberia to Argentina and Chile. Its effects included decreased temperatures, drought, and food shortages throughout the affected regions – and led to the Justinian plague, two years later, which killed as much as 1/3 of the population of Europe. In China, the resulting famine killed perhaps 80% of people in some regions; and in Scandinavia, the losses may have been as high as 90% of the population.
There are several theories regarding what caused the event – but no universal agreement. If such a thing were to happen today it would, no doubt, be used as a political tool and its causes ascribed to some heinous crime being committed by humans – an option which wasn’t available to the ‘less sophisticated’ folk struggling to make their way in the 6th century…