Why History Has Climate Scientists Hot and Bothered

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In England, researchers are using some unusual tools to learn how to adapt to change: pressed flowers collected during the Victorian era. Flowers bloom largely based on spring temperatures, Anthony Davy, a professor of the University of East Anglia who co-authored a study on pressed flowers, explained to Reuters. If researchers know the exact day that flowers were picked, they can use that to put together a picture about global temperatures long before accurate recording existed.

By combining that with knowledge about industrialization, scientists could begin to connect human activity with average temperature changes.

Davy and his team aren't the only ones hoping the past can help us understand the future. While he's looking at flowers to gather data about how humans may have affected the 19th-century climate, others are casting their eyes further into history for clues about how ancient civilizations adapted -- or failed to adapt -- to climate change.

In Egypt, a broad coalition of geologists, archaeologists, historians and other scientists is examining how the ancient builders of temples and pyramids withstood thousands of years of major weather events and shifting climates. The answers, they believe, could help people in this vulnerable region gird for the future....
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