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Greenland cold snap linked to Viking disappearance

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Greenland cold snap linked to Viking disappearance

Post by Rowan » Wed June 1st, 2011, 12:48 pm

... which seems kinda odd to me since I always envisioned them as hearty folk who could manage the cold just fine. :rolleyes:
OSLO (Reuters) – A cold snap in Greenland in the 12th century may help explain why Viking settlers vanished from the island, scientists said on Monday.

The report, reconstructing temperatures by examining lake sediment cores in west Greenland dating back 5,600 years, also indicated that earlier, pre-historic settlers also had to contend with vicious swings in climate on icy Greenland.

"Climate played (a) big role in Vikings' disappearance from Greenland," Brown University in the United States said in a statement of a finding that average temperatures plunged 4 degrees Celsius (7F) in 80 years from about 1100.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed June 1st, 2011, 1:39 pm

Even hearty folk have to eat -- and a cold snap meant no harvest.

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Post by Ludmilla » Wed June 1st, 2011, 2:21 pm

I think in its early years the colony was also visited regularly by trade ships. After the plague swept through so much of Europe, the colony was basically cut off.

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Post by Carla » Thu June 2nd, 2011, 1:05 pm

There's a detailed discussion of the factors that may have led to the decline of the Norse Greenland colony in Jared Diamond's book Collapse. Climate change was almost certainly contributory but not the only factor. The last record of a ship visiting Norse Greenland is from some time in the early fifteenth century (1410, if memory serves).
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Post by annis » Fri June 3rd, 2011, 8:03 pm

The section on the Viking expansion in Diamond's Collapse makes essential reading for anyone interested in the Vikings and their impact on the medieval world. Diamond attributes Greenland's decline and fall to five basic factors (on which he elaborates further in his book): Norse impact on the environment, climate change, decline in friendly contact with Norway, increase in hostile contact with the Inuit, and the conservative outlook of the Norse. in effect the Viking settlement in Greenland failed because the settlers either couldn't or wouldn't adapt to the conditions of their new home, but persisted in following an unworkable model based on traditional Norse practices. It's the old story- adapt or die.

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Post by Margaret » Sat June 4th, 2011, 12:08 am

Collapse is fascinating from beginning to end.
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Post by fljustice » Sat June 4th, 2011, 5:01 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]Collapse is fascinating from beginning to end.[/quote]

Loved that book!
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