"An Ancient Civilization, Upended by Climate Change"

Some new lines of evidence are confirming a decades-old conclusion that climate change was the key cause for the end of the ancient Harappan civilization in what is now the Indus valley of India, Pakistan, and neighboring regions.

Scientists led by geologist Liviu Giosan of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recreated the ancient landscape from satellite and topographical data -- finding evidence of the monsoonal Sarasvati River, now long vanished into myth. The death-by-climate of the  Harappan civilization (roughly 3500-2000 BC) was explained by pioneer climatologist Reid Bryson in his 1977 book "Climates of Hunger." The study was published May 29 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Rachel Nuwer reports for the New York Times' Green blog May 29, 2012.


"Indus Valley Civilization Collapse Fueled By Climate Change, Researchers Say" (LiveScience/Huffington Post)

"Fluvial Landscapes of the Harappan Civilization" (PNAS)

"Groundwater Depletion in Semiarid Regions of Texas and California Threatens U.S. Food Security" (University of Texas at Austin News Release)

Source: Green (NYT), 05/30/2012