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Drought is critical to farming in Greenland - maybe also 600 years ago

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Norse settlers developed a farming-based society in South Greenland for more than 1000 years ago. However, the region was largely abandoned by the early 15th century due to a combination of climate change, isolation, conflicts and/or diseases. A new study highlights the importance of prolonged drying as a critical issue based on lake sediment records. On the basis of temperature and hydroclimate reconstructions, Zhao and co-workers show that there was no abrupt temperature decline at the time the Norse settlements were abandoned, but that summer drought became increasingly important. It is interesting, also as drought (in combination with a low soil fertility) is a key concern for developing farming in the same area today.

Read more: SCIENCE ADVANCES • 23 Mar 2022 • Vol 8, Issue 12

A reconstruction of a Norse dwelling has been made at Qassiarssuk in South Greenland near Narsarsuaq. Thick walls made of peat were essential to keep warm during cold winters.

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