Monday, December 7, 2015


Nicolás Young of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is  skeptical of the view that the Vikings colonized Greenland during a Big Thaw, since new isotopic analysis dates the maximum advance of glaciers in southwest Greenland to the  middle  of  the  erstwhile  Medieval  Warm  Period:
 “If the Vikings traveled to Greenland when it was cool, it’s a stretch to say deteriorating climate drove them out.... It’s becoming clearer that the Medieval Warm Period was patchy, not global,”  
Apart from lousy weather  or becoming sick and tired of a diet of seal meat, the Vikings may have quit Greenland because of  Inuit attacks,  a decline in the walrus ivory trade,  overgrazing of icebound pastures by imported cattle,  and perhaps most intriguingly, better farming land becoming  free  for  the  taking  back  home  in  Scandinavia  after the population crash of the mid-14th century Black Plague.