UA and the “Roman Period Megadrought”

I complained earlier today about the quality of writing in a pile of archaeo- and anthropo-related articles this week and one which has been really bothering me is the headline from a University of Arizona press release, to wit:

The headline is picked up by some major science sources:

… but the problem is there is no mention of “Roman” in the article at all (and I’ve read it a zillion times). Indeed, the focus is on tree ring evidence in Arizona and evidence for a megadrought in North America in the second century A.D., e.g.:

The prolonged drought in the 12th century and the newly discovered event in the second century A.D. may both have been influenced by warmer-than-average Northern Hemisphere temperatures, Routson said: “The limited records indicate there may have been similar La Nina-like background conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which are known to influence modern drought, during the two periods.”

… now as far as I can tell, the Romans weren’t in Arizona at this time and, indeed, there were plenty of other cultures around the world which were flourishing, so we really can’t give the Romans the credit for being the only successful culture in the second century. That said, this brief period does coincide with the Roman Warm Period, about which we’ve blogged before:

We should probably also remind folks of studies earlier in the year which seemed to link climate change to the fall of empires:

… and an item a few months later about evidence for climate change in a poem by Ausonius:

Whatever the case, other than fitting into a bit of the Roman Warm Period, the UA study’s reference to “Roman Megadrought” is somewhat confusing. If it is connected to that somehow, I hope they clarify it …

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