Global Land Use and Technological Evolution Simulations to Quantify Interactions Between Climate and Pre-industrial Cultures

  • Carsten LemmenEmail author
  • Kerstin Haberkorn
  • Richard Blender
  • Klaus Fraedrich
  • Kai W. Wirtz
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Earth System Sciences book series (BRIEFSEARTHSYST)


To understand the two-way interaction between past societies and Holocene climate, we conduct a series of integrated model- and data-based studies. The climate-culture feedback is investigated using a coupled Earth System Civilization Model, including a new methodology to incorporate proxy information into an Earth System Model. Our study reconstructs the transition to agriculture for Western Eurasia in the paleoclimatic context; it shows that migration is not a necessary prerequisite for this transition, which is a yet unresolved problem in European archeology. Climate variability and extreme events had no significant impact, which reflects societal resilience. Also, our simulation studies indicate a considerable range of global and regional carbon emissions by deforestation. In conclusion, we find on the one hand a lower sensitivity of past societies to changes in Holocene climate than frequently suggested, on the other hand a possibly larger influence of those societies on regional and global climate.


Neolithic transition Preindustrial cultures Earth system model Sociotechnological model Anthropocene Proxy integration Adaptation Carbon emission 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carsten Lemmen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kerstin Haberkorn
    • 3
  • Richard Blender
    • 3
  • Klaus Fraedrich
    • 3
  • Kai W. Wirtz
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Coastal ResearchHelmholtz-Zentrum GeesthachtGeesthachtGermany
  2. 2.C.L. Science ConsultLüneburgGermany
  3. 3.Meteorological InstituteUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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