The causality analysis of climate change and large-scale human crisis

David D. ZHANG, Harry F. LEE, Cong WANG, Baosheng LI, Qing PEI, Jane ZHANG, Yulun AN

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199 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent studies have shown strong temporal correlations between past climate changes and societal crises. However, the specific causal mechanisms underlying this relation have not been addressed. We explored quantitative responses of 14 fine-grained agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and demographic variables to climate fluctuations from A.D. 1500–1800 in Europe. Results show that cooling from A.D. 1560–1660 caused successive agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and demographic catastrophes, leading to the General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century. We identified a set of causal linkages between climate change and human crisis. Using temperature data and climate-driven economic variables, we simulated the alternation of defined “golden” and “dark” ages in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere during the past millennium. Our findings indicate that climate change was the ultimate cause, and climate-driven economic downturn was the direct cause, of large-scale human crises in preindustrial Europe and the Northern Hemisphere. Copyright © 2011 PNAS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17296-17301
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume108
Issue number42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

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climate change
Northern Hemisphere
climate
seventeenth century
economics
cooling
Europe
analysis
temperature
socioeconomics
catastrophe

Bibliographical note

Zhang, D. D., Lee, H. F., Wang, C., Li, B., Pei, Q., Zhang, J., & An, Y. (2011). The causality analysis of climate change and large-scale human crisis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(42), 17296-17301. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1104268108

Keywords

  • Climate-driven economy
  • Granger Causality Analysis
  • Grain price