Colonization of America by Europeans may have contributed to climate cooling
By the time Columbus arrived in America, the continent’s population was growing rapidly and numbered about 60 million people. One hundred years later, the indigenous population was only six million. Researchers believe that such a dramatic decline in population may have contributed to climate cooling.
Native Americans died not only from wars and famine. Contact with Europeans broughtósł primarily diseases previously unknown in America like smallpox, która decimated local communities. The researchers concluded that such a dramatic decline in population contributed to the „of the little ice age”, która took place between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Researchers at University College London noted that the huge population decline led to the abandonment of large areas of theóin arable land. The place of crops was taken by forests, które began to absorb enough carbon dioxide that the earth’s average global temperature dropped by 0.15 degrees Celsius.
Until now, it was assumed that the human impact on climate began during the Industrial Revolution. But new research shows that humans may have influenced the climate up to 250 years earlier. – Humans were influencing the climate even before they started burning fossil fuels – móThe study was written by Alexander Koch, whoóry conducted research.
Experts have been trying for years to determine how much osób lived in America Pónnoc, Central and South before the arrival of Europeans in these landsów. Some data on the population of pre-Columbian era America is missing. To determine the number, researchers often cite witness accountsów, or censuses taken by colonistsóin imposing taxes on nativesów. However, none of these methods are accurate.
This time, scientists have divided America PóNorth and South into 119 regionsów and examined the sources of theódels on the population of each separately. According to these estimatesóin the Americas before the time of Columbus lived about 60.5 million people. After a century, this population has decreased by 90 percent. This means that more than 50 millionóin the indigenous inhabitantsóin the Americas died as a result of wars and diseaseób such as smallpox, measles and influenza. The number of victims accounted for about 10 percent of. human populations across the earth.
Scientists have calculated that before the arrival of the EuropeanóIn the Americas, some 62 million hectares were cultivatedóin the earth. After a century it was only 6 millionóin a hectareów. Over time, the wasteland will return to theóThe trees, które began to absorb more carbon dioxide. It is estimated that the resultingób new forests had the area of today’s France. This has consequently led to less gasóin greenhouses in the atmosphere and cooling of the climate.
These conclusions seem to be confirmed by data obtained from ice cores excavated from Antarctica. The data shows that the earth’s average temperature then fell by 0.15 degrees Celsius, and glaciers began to expand. This period lasting until the 19th century is called the „small ice age”.
Koch acknowledged that climate cooling was not contributed only by population decline. It must have been influenced by other factors, such as a decrease in volcanic activity or solar activity. However, he says, such a large decline in population móhead to be one of the most important causes of cooling on Earth.