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Global Land Use and Technological
Evolution Simulations to Quantify
Interactions Between Climate
and Pre-industrial Cultures
Carsten Lemmen, Kerstin Haberkorn, Richard Blender,
Klaus Fraedrich and Kai W. Wirtz
Abstract 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 Civili-
zation 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 signi
impact, which re
ects 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
uence of those societies on regional and global climate.
Keywords Neolithic transition
Preindustrial cultures
Earth system model
Sociotechnological model
Proxy integration
Carbon emission
1 Introduction
Key questions of Holocene climate and its interaction with pre-industrial cultures
are: How much did climate variability determine where and when agriculture
appeared or cultures disappeared? When did humans start to interfere with and how
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