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Mathematical Method Shows How Climate Change Could Have Toppled The Famed Indus Valley Civilization

Posted by on September 19, 2020 in Climate Change, Environment, Environmental Hazards with 0 Comments

By Mayukh Saha | Truth Theory

Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Indus Valley were the most distinguished and flourishing civilizations of the ancient world in the continent. But there are many contradictory theories about the decline of Indus Valley Civilization. Recently, a mathematical proof has helped to pinpoint climate change as the leading cause of their decline.


Rochester Institute of Technology’s mathematical scientist Nishant Malik was the one who found the missing link. During his research, Malik found the evidence that showed increasing droughts and shifting monsoons were the reasons that drove away the Harappans.

Stalagmites found in caves are used to calculate the rainfall amount in such ancient places. Previously, scientists had analyzed a particular isotope in some stalagmites in a cave near the civilization to estimate the amount of monsoon rainfall in the area over the last 5000-6000 years. 

But Malik identifies patterns in that data that showed major shifts in monsoon patterns. These patterns were aligned with the rise of the Bronze Age empire. The pattern reversed as the civilization inched towards its decline. This helped Malik establish the link between climate change and the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND INDUS VALLEY

Malik explained how the data usually they derive from paleoclimate is from a short span of time with uncertainties and noise.

“As far as mathematics and climate is concerned, the tool we use very often in understanding climate and weather is dynamical systems. But dynamical systems theory is harder to apply to palaeoclimate data.”

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