Bracco, R., del Puerto, L., Inda, H., Panario, D., Castineira, C. and Garcia-Rodriguez, F. 2011. The relationship between emergence of mound builders in SE Uruguay and climate change inferred from opal phytolith records. Quaternary International 245: 62-73.
As a backdrop for studying the emergence and development of prehistoric mound building in southeast Uruguay, the authors of this intriguing paper employed paleoclimatic data to obtain a picture of how the climate of the region changed over the course of the past 7000 years.
What was done
Focusing on the coastal lagoons within the Merin Lagoon basin, which is located between 31-34°S and 52-54°W in the easternmost part of the South American plains, Bracco et al. state that paleolimnological investigations were initiated there in AD 2000 by a multidisciplinary group of researchers that studied past climate conditions via "multiproxy analyses (i.e., diatoms, opal phytoliths, pollen, molluscs, sediments, geochemistry, thin sections), together with radiocarbon dating." And working predominantly with phytoliths found within various sediment cores, they derived 7000-year histories of both a temperature and a humidity index.
What was learned
Of most interest to us, is the fact that straddling the division of the last two millennia, the South American scientists found a period (AD 750-1350) that "was characterized by warmer and wetter conditions than those of the present," which matches well with the timeframe of the Medieval Warm Period, as can be seen on the Interactive Map and Time Domain Plot of our Medieval Warm Period Project. And within this period they say "there are two peaks of extreme humid and warm events," the second of which "fits chronologically into the 'Warm Period' (Broecker, 2001; Roberts, 2009), whose occurrence has been already pointed out by Iriondo and Garcia (1993) and Prevosti et al. (2004) in this region."
What it means
These findings help to establish the global nature of the Medieval Warm Period that climate alarmists are so loath to acknowledge. And to provide even more support for this view of the world, Bracco et al. write that the results they present "are consistent with other paleoclimatic reconstructions (Bracco et al., 2005; Garcia-Rodriguez et al., 2009) and the synthesis presented by Mancini et al. (2005), and they are partially consistent with other regional studies (Iriondo and Garcia, 1993; Prieto, 1996, 2000; Iriondo, 1999; Panario and Gutierrez, 1999; Tonni et al., 1999; Zarate et al., 2000; Prieto et al., 2004; Quattrocchio et al., 2008; Piovano et al., 2009, in Argentina; Behling, 1995, 2002, 2007; Melo et al., 2003; Moro et al., 2004, in Brazil." And this ever-expanding body of empirical findings continues to add ever more weight to the reality of the millennial-scale cycling of our planet's climate, which after the passing of the Little Ice Age that followed the Medieval Warm Period is likely what has most recently ushered us into the Current Warm Period.
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