domingo, 26 de febrero de 2012

RV: Moderate Drought Blamed for Collapse of Maya Civilization



Expuesto el: viernes, 24 de febrero de 2012 4:00
Asunto: Moderate Drought Blamed for Collapse of Maya Civilization


Maya Temple Kingdom of TikalA new study reports that the demise of the Maya Civilization may have been related to relatively modest reductions in rainfall. The study, published in AAAS Science, was led by Professors Martin Medina-Elizalde of the Yucatan Center for Scientific Research and Eelco Rohling of the University of Southampton in the UK. The study combines records of past climate changes from stalagmites and shallow lakes to model 40% reductions in summer rainfall and reduced tropical storm activity over the region between AD 800-950.

Professor Rohling says, "Our results show rather modest rainfall reductions between times when the Classic Maya Civilization flourished and its collapse - between AD 800-950. These reductions amount to only 25 to 40 per cent in annual rainfall. But they were large enough for evaporation to become dominant over rainfall, and open water availability was rapidly reduced. The data suggest that the main cause was a decrease in summer storm activity."

Although the drought was not severe, the researchers believe the drought still may have been enough to cause societal disruptions. The researchers say water scarcity builds up quickly in the Yucatan Peninsula if summer rains are reduced.

Professor Rohling says, "Summer was the main season for cultivation and replenishment of Mayan freshwater storage systems and there are no rivers in the Yucatan lowlands. Societal disruptions and abandonment of cities are likely consequences of critical water shortages, especially because there seems to have been a rapid repetition of multi-year droughts."

The moderate drought may also have been combined with other factors, such as disease, which led to the demise of the Maya civilization. Cosmic Log reports that long-term forecast models suggest climate change may bring similar periods of drought to the Yucatan Peninsula again by the end of this century. There is the possibility of history repeating itself if modern local governments ignore this data.

Photo: Temple in the Kingdom of Tikal/Professor Medina-Elizalde

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