According to a new and more surprising study, people were already doing it in the 1300s.
It was thought that if you looked a few hundred years ago, you would see an industrial, untouched world. But a new study shatters that assumption. “It is now clear that humans have been influencing the southern ocean and Antarctica for at least 700 years,” said researcher Joe McConnell.
Many years ago, while studying ice samples taken on the island of James Rose in Antarctica, scientists noticed something unusual. They discovered an unexpected increase in black carbon (suite) from 1300 onwards. Suite is a particle that absorbs light, which is generated by biofuels (e.g., wildfire) and released by the combustion of fossil fuels. However, how all of those contaminants got trapped in the Antarctic ice that was hundreds of years old was a big mystery. Therefore, in a new study, the researchers decided to look for a definitive explanation.
To unravel the appearance of an unexpected suite structure early in history, the research team explored six ice cores from the island of James Rose. Analysis of glaciers has shown a significant increase since the 1300s. Levels tripled over the next 700 years and rose in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, the mainland of Antarctica was relatively stable over the same period. This allowed the researchers to make an interesting conclusion. “Our models Patagonia, Tasmania and New Zealand are sources of significantly increased suite emissions,” said researcher Andreas Stoll.
The researchers looked at three regions and were able to rule out two as possible sources of the suit. It left only one option: New Zealand. Eventually, the researchers were able to explain the intriguing increase in the suit. About 1300 Maori people came ashore in New Zealand, along with the burning of forests. And it happened on such a large scale that it greatly affected the atmosphere in most parts of the Southern Hemisphere.
The surprising result is that the smoke must have traveled to reach New Zealand’s relatively small terrain and distance (approximately 7,200 kilometers) James Rose Island. “You would not expect the Mauritius fire to have a major impact on New Zealand, compared to wildfires in the Amazon, South Africa and Australia,” said researcher Nathan Selman. “But it did in the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic Peninsula.”
This means that we are not the first person to radically change the Earth’s atmosphere. This happened 700 years ago. “The discovery that humans at that time in history made a significant change in atmospheric suit size is quite astonishing,” McConnell says. While it is often believed that human impacts were minimal in pre-industrial times, this new study provides new evidence that emissions from human-related combustion may have affected the Earth’s atmosphere and climate more than previously thought.
These research results are important for a number of reasons. First, the findings have significant implications for our understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. Modern climate models use information about historical climates to make accurate predictions of the future. Emissions and concentrations of black carbon are essential in this case. Second, the combustion of biomass is associated with the growth of phytoplankton over much of the ocean. So the discovery that the fire started by Miori led to the growth and flowering of phytoplankton over large areas of the southern hemisphere over the centuries. Third, the results were narrow when Maurice arrived in New Zealand; One of the last places on earth to be colonized by humans. Mary is believed to have set foot in the 13th or 14th century. But thanks to the icebergs, researchers now begin large-scale burning of biofuels in New Zealand began in 1297, with 30 years of uncertainty.
Overall, the study yields interesting results. “Ice cores are once again proving to be very valuable in our understanding of past human impacts on the environment,” McConnell concluded. This leads to a new insight: “Even the most remote parts of the earth were not necessary in pre-industrial times,” he underlines.
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