of 10,000 Year Scale Holocene
has the Earth changed in 10,000 revolutions around the sun?
The figure to the left shows the amount of ice melting from an Ice Cap
in what is now northern Canada and is based on the work of paleoclimatologist
Ray Bradley. Reflecting the warming that has occurred after the most recent
ice age, this graph provides a snapshot of the range of variability as
measured by melting ice caps that can occur during a time span of 10,000
years. Note that the melting that has occurred during the 20th Century
is greater than almost all periods for ~4000 years. (See dashed line).
As we see in Climate Science, scientists
looking for long-term patterns of 1,000 years or more in climate and environmental
change use a variety of paleo proxies such as tree rings, and cores taken
from ice caps and sediment layers from the ocean or lakes to glean data
that can provide insight into why climate can abruptly
shift in less than a decade.
History we examine the development of human civilizations during
the Holocene-- the past +10,000 years since the last ice age, a period
when human population rose from around 5 million to over 6 billion people.
In particular we look at the evidence for a cataclysmic flood some 7,600
years ago that created the Black Sea. And in Resources,
we look at additional sources of information and inquiry ideas to further
explore at this time scale.
Before Present (B.P.)
Human Population (estimates from UNESCO)
of rye results in occasional growth of a toxic fungal infection
(ergot) known as St. Anthonys fire that can cause hallucinations.
Image of rye from USDA.
trade becomes important. European sailors discover how to use monsoon
patterns to their advantage.
grown in Peru. Iron age in Europe and Middle East. -Phoenicians sail
in the Mediterranean while Polynesians sail the Pacific.
-Iron Age begins around 2650 years ago.
smelted in Middle East, combining copper and tin, beginning the Bronze
-Olives, peaches and apricots cultivated in Eastern Mediterranean.
-Drought around 2000 B.C. may have contributed to the collapse of
the Akkadia civilization in Mesopotamia, which is regarded as the
world's first empire. (Weiss,
1993) Evidence of drought also found along Nile in Egypt,
Indus in India and in the Great Basin of western North America. Image
of apricots from USDA.
sacred crops in ancient China: soybeans, rice, wheat, barley and
millet. -Sorghum used in sub-Saharan Africa.
-Egypt unified under one Pharaoh.
Image of soybeans from USDA.
(New Stone Age) period, with farming and elaborate stone houses built
-Cotton grown in Pakistan, cultivated grapes in Afghanistan.
beans, chili peppers and an early type of corn (Zea mays) cultivated
-Domesticated rice used in China
Image of corn from USDA.
fava beans and chick peas become part of eastern Mediterranean, with
Chili pepper and Lima beans being used in Peruvian highlands.
-Rising sea levels of Mediterranean Sea floods into the basin that
now forms the Black Sea around 7,600 years ago. (See Climate
History 10,000 years)
-Copper first smelted around this time period.
Mesolithic period, semi-permanent houses are used and boats are built
for transport and fishing.
-Flax in Syria and Turkey for clothing (linen) and oil.
-Abrupt climate change
causes much of the planet to become cooler and drier around 8,200
years ago. (Von
Image of flax seed from USDA.
evidence of plant domestication.
Wheat and barley developed in Near East. Barley becomes a daily food
-An estimated 5 million people inhabit the entire planet.
Image of barley from USDA.