Thursday, November 22, 2007

Was Noah’s flood a sign of climate change devastation to come?

From the Times Online (UK), some Bible-based climate science: Noah’s flood may have been responsible for the birth of modern civilisation across Western Europe, according to research. A deluge 8,000 years ago in what are now the Balkans is believed by some to have given rise to the biblical story. It is being seen as a model for the social upheaval that may result from sea-level rises caused by climate change.

The research, led by Chris Turney, a geologist at the University of Exeter, found that as early farmers from the Balkans travelled west because of the flooding, their culture replaced that of the hunter-gatherer tribes that they encountered. As they settled around Italy and France, they established farming communities, which eventually led to the growth of villages, towns and cities.

“People living in what is now southeast Europe must have felt as though the whole world had flooded,” Professor Turney said. “This could well have been the origin of the Noah’s Ark story. Entire coastal communities would have been displaced, forcing people to migrate in their thousands.”

Those most affected by the flooding would have lived on low-lying land around the shores of the Black Sea. Professor Turney said that the rise in sea level 8,000 years ago is roughly in line with that expected between now and the end of the century.

“It’s quite a sobering thought,” he said. “Something of the order of 145 million people are living within a metre of sea level today. This research shows how rising sea levels can cause massive social change. Eight thousand years on, are we any better placed to deal with rising sea levels?” Before the flood, the early farmers seemed disinclined to migrate. “They didn’t expand any further across Europe,” Professor Turney said. “It looks like they just stopped.”

The flood occurred at the end of the last Ice Age when the Laurentide ice sheet covering much of North America collapsed, releasing vast amounts of water and increasing global sea levels by up to 1.4 metres. As the sea rose, it breached a ridge across the Bosphorus in Turkey, that dammed the Mediterranean and had, up to that time, cut off the Black Sea, which was a freshwater lake. Over 34 years the Black Sea filled and overflowed.

Scientists from Britain and Australia simulated the Mediterranean and Black Sea shorelines before and after the sea-level rise. The research, published today in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, estimates that almost 73,000 square kilometres (28,000 square miles) of land would have been lost, displacing 145,000 people.

And from the comments: Knowing the truth of Biblical, historical accounts, I'm more inclined to trust God at His Word not to destroy the earth by flood again than I am to put any faith in the tainted psuedo-science of those seeking to suck more tax dollars out of the peoples of the world. Paul, USA, America

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