Topic ID #11980 - posted 5/31/2011 4:20 AM

Greenland cold snap linked to Viking disappearance

Jennifer Palmer

Greenland cold snap linked to Viking disappearance
REUTERS/Svebor Kranjc
OSLO | Mon May 30, 2011 4:37pm EDT

(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.

Such a shift is roughly the equivalent of the current average temperatures in Edinburgh, Scotland, tumbling to match those in Reykjavik, Iceland. It would be a huge setback to crop and livestock production.

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