Can the Egyptian Kings tell us something of interest about our future?
I think they can.
I’d even go so far as to assert that they can tell us of an important cycle of weather. A 750 year cycle of “1/2 Bond Event” duration. This has very important implications for us, now, with our sleepy sun.
There are two separate lines of evidence for a 1470 to 1500 year cycle of weather. During the ice age glacials, the cycles are called by one name, during the Holocene interglacial, by another. This is because each was discovered by different means and by different folks. But it is the same cycle and it has been present for hundreds of thousands of years. It would be folly to think “this time is different”.
lists the Bond Events as:
Most Bond events do not have a clear climate signal; some correspond to periods of cooling, others are coincident with aridification in some regions.
≈1,400 BP (Bond event 1) — roughly correlates with the Migration Period pessimum (450–900 AD)
≈2,800 BP (Bond event 2) — roughly correlates with the Iron Age Cold Epoch (900–300 BC)
≈4,200 BP (Bond event 3) — correlates with the 4.2 kiloyear event (correlates also with the collapse of the Akkadian Empire and the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom)
≈5,900 BP (Bond event 4) — correlates with the 5.9 kiloyear event (correlates with the end of the Pre Pottery Neolithic B, and the arrival of nomadic pastoralists in the Middle East)
≈8,100 BP (Bond event 5) — correlates with the 8.2 kiloyear event
≈9,400 BP (Bond event 6) — correlates with the Erdalen event of glacier activity in Norway, as well as with a cold event in China.
≈10,300 BP (Bond event 7) — unnamed event (correlates with the beginnings of grain agriculture in the Middle East)
≈11,100 BP (Bond event 8) — coincides with the transition from the Younger Dryas to the boreal
There is some reasonable “slop” in those dates as the events themselves have a duration of a hundred years scale and the exact onset and exit can be a bit vague. Some are worse than others. But first off, notice that they are generally bad times for humanity and for civilization. Cold, arid, prone to crop failures and collapse of empires.
presses this cycle further back in time.
Dansgaard-Oeschger events are rapid climate fluctuations that occurred 25 times during the last glacial period. Some scientists (see below) claim that the events occur quasi-periodically with a recurrence time being a multiple of 1,470 years, but this is debated. The comparable climate cyclicity during the Holocene is referred to as Bond events.
Though I note that it does not say “by whom” it is “debated”…
In the Northern Hemisphere, they take the form of rapid warming episodes, typically in a matter of decades, each followed by gradual cooling over a longer period. For example, about 11,500 years ago, averaged annual temperatures on the Greenland icepack warmed by around 8°C over 40 years, in three steps of five years (see , Stewart, chapter 13) – 5°C change over 30-40 yrs more common.
Gee, a ‘warming’ of a couple of C over 30 to 40 years… where have I seen folks wringing their hands over a warming of a couple of degrees C in 30 to 40 years ….. Oh, that’s right, the IPCC… and AlGore. So an absolutely normal rapid warming of a couple of C in about 30 to 40 years is followed by? Oh, that’s right, a whole lot of cold…
Heinrich events only occur in the cold spells immediately preceding D-O warmings, leading some to suggest that D-O cycles may cause the events, or at least constrain their timing.
The course of a D-O event sees a rapid warming of temperature, followed by a cool period lasting a few hundred years. This cold period sees an expansion of the polar front, with ice floating further south across the North Atlantic ocean.
Well, that doesn’t sound very nice at all. “A few hundred years” of cold is a bit more than I’d like to see…
And what about those “Heinrich Events”?
Heinrich events occur during some, but not all, of the periodic cold spells preceding the rapid warming events known as Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events, which repeat around every 1,500 years.
Hmmm… A cold spike, then a warm spike, then a few hundred years of cold. (Yes, there is some quibble over exact dating of Heinrich events and they are only seen during a glacial, but what if the same pattern carries forward, like Bond Events, but with slightly different effects during an inter-glacial?)
What did we just leave in the 1700-1800s? Oh, a cold spell. The Little Ice Age. Some folks have tried to label it as a Bond Event, but it’s missing a lot of the indicia of a very cold persistent event. But what if there is a different cold spike, then a very warm rebound, then the plunge into Bond Event Zero? ( I’ve coined the term Bond Event Zero for the Bond Event that I think will happen about 1500 years after Bond Event 1. It’s mine, all mine ;-)
OK, so we’ve got a very interesting thing here. D-O events are warming on a 1500 year cycle. Bond Events are cold on a 1500 year cycle. Heinrich Events are cold just before a 1500 year warming event. How do all these parts fit together? Are Heinrich Events a kind of Bond Event? Or what? Or are Heinrich Events in addition to Bond Events?
At this point I think the Egyptian Kings have something interesting to say. (They were only called Pharaoh in the final stages. In the Early Kingdom, they were kings). They show what looks, to me, like a 750 year 1/2 cycle cooling event. Whatever you call it, there seems to be more cooling events than Bond events, and they look to be spaced at about the 1/2 point (though perhaps with some bias to one end).
Egyptian history is divided into “Kingdoms” and “Intermediate Periods”. The “Intermediate Periods” ( or IP ) are often times of social collapse and famine. Traditionally these have been ascribed to some kind of outside invasion or failure of the leadership, or sometimes just general social anarchy breaking out. I think that’s wrong.
What they miss, IMHO, is that fed people are happy people. Hungry people revolt. Starving people tear down civilizations. Food depends on crops that depend on water and weather. So lets look at those cycles of time, and weather, and see what lines up with whom.
While the wiki is interesting, it spends more time on bickering over the exact dates than I’d like. If you want to know the error bands on things, start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_ancient_Egypt
I’m going to use a simplified set of the dates:
There are some petty quibbles over exact dating of the Egyptian Kingdoms, but it tends to be in the 10s of years granularity (though some particular kings may be off up to 300 years). For our purposes of a ‘hundred years or so’ precision, they are “good enough”. So what are those dates? I’m going to do everything in BC / AD as the BP and related can be very confusing, especially when all mixed together. Was that 4200 kilo year event the same as the 2200 BC history? Well, yes… so why not call them both “2200 BC”? With that in mind, here are the Egyptian dates:
2700 – 2200 BC Old Kingdom
2200 – 2100 BC First I.P.
2100 – 1800 BC Middle Kingdom
1800 – 1570 BC Second I.P.
1570 – 1080 BC New Kingdom
So what happens when we slot in some Bond Events?
2700 – 2200 BC Old Kingdom
2200 BC – Bond Event 3
2200 – 2100 BC First I.P.
2100 – 1800 BC Middle Kingdom
??? What happened here???
1800 – 1570 BC Second I.P.
1570 – 1080 BC New Kingdom
800 BC – Bond Event 2 (Iron Age Cold Epoch starts it in 900 BC)
500 AD – Bond Event 1 (The Dark Ages begin in about 530 AD, the fall of Rome)
2025 AD – Bond Event Zero. You Are Here
OK, we have a nice kingdom, then Bond Event 3 and it falls. There is geologic evidence for sand storms, sand deposits in the Nile Delta, and written records of crop failures, famine, aridity, and endless cloud cover.
Then things get better and we have the Middle Kingdom. But at about 1/2 of a Bond Event, we have the second I.P. and the Middle Kingdom falls. What happened there, then?
Followed by a recovery. The New Kingdom. This runs until Bond Event 2 happens.
Yes, the dates are a bit fuzzy, plus or minus 100 years. This stuff is not exact in the sands of time (literal piles of sands at different times…) In any case, The New Kingdom falls.
Next? We have a Roman Republic for about 1/2 a Bond Period, then it transitions to the Roman Empire. Rocky, but it sort of survives a 1/2 Bond Period challenge. But it fails to survive the Bond Event 1 start of The Dark Ages.
So, about 1300 years after the fall of The New Kingdom, we have The Dark Ages. Between the fall of The New Kingdom and The Dark Ages? The Roman Empire rose, and fell… Same cycle, different Empire.
After a bit of recovery, the Renaissance happens. There are some rocky times about 1200 AD as the Vikings invade, but generally some pretty good times. Even Greenland supports colonies. Then, at about 1/2 a Bond Event period, we get The Little Ice Age. About 700 AD was the depths of the cold, add 700, 1400 AD and we’re starting the L.I.A. The French Revolution, the potato famine. Mass exodus for The New World. Then things warm up some.
Coming out of that time the British Empire flourishes and the American Empire bursts on the scene. A few hundred years later, we are having a bit of warm after a bit of cold, and everything is right with the world.
535 AD plus 1470 = 2005 AD.
We hit a temperature peak in 1998 AD or so and started cooling from about 2005 AD. The sun has “gone quiet” and we’ve got a sudden thinning of atmospheric thickness. Snows have returned to North America with a vengeance and Europe is rediscovering what it means to be cold. There are food riots in North Africa, and the event has barely had time to get started.
OK, take a moment to look at that chart.
At the start of the graph, in 2200 BC we have a cool down and the collapse of the Old Kingdom. It makes a bit of a recovery, then in that 1500 BC plunge, falls again. It then makes a recovery into the New Kingdom up through about 1000 BC. ( I think this early part of the graph may be compressing this cycle a bit, but it’s also possible that things are not on an exactly 750 year half cycle. At any rate, I think this era likely needs a bit more ‘stretching’ to be right).
The New Kingdom fell to Greece during Bond Event 2, the Iron Age Cold Period. The Persians were pounding on the Greeks, and they pounded back, eventually ending with Alexander the Great and the Ptolemy Pharaohs. Then Greece fell to the Romans as things warmed up again.
From the 1000 BC point we have a clear crash into Bond Event 2 (from which the Greeks benefit, even if they do have a Persian PITA to deal with). Then the Romans benefit from a bit of warmth and start to take over.
Followed by some eruptions at places like Vesuvius at about the 1/2 Bond Event point. The Republic falls, turned into an Empire, and recovers. I think this 1/2 Bond Event period needs some more ‘fleshing out’ as there was a lot going on then. What were the stresses on the Empire in 200 – 100 BC? Then the Empire flourishes again.
Until Bond Event 1 brings the collapse of The Dark Ages. Again, during the cold, the Greek area benefits with The Byzantine Empire cruising through… approximately 306 AD to 1453 AD. Then it too fell during the Little Ice Age. (And subject to Muslim attack).
It looks to me like the Greek area benefits a little during the 1/2 Cycle events, but has problems during Bond Events. (Or perhaps it is just that the ‘neighbors’ have bigger problems, so Greece can get some relief.) Egypt has problems during both, though perhaps with some offset in difficulty between them. And, while the graph does not show it as well as the history of empire shows it, I think there is fair evidence for a ‘Little Ice Age” at the 1/2 Bond Event periods that causes some instabilities.
What About Us?
So, if there is any validity in this (and it IS admittedly quite speculative), what does it imply for us?
First up, it implies that the Little Ice Age was not Bond Event Zero (as some folks have tried to claim). That would be a 1/2 Bond event mini-event. That would imply that the proper date for Bond Event Zero is, well, right about now. And it ought to last for a couple of hundred years. Potentially that could make The Little Ice Age the equivalent of an inter-glacial Heinrich Event.
Furthermore, to the extent that Heinrich Events can be seen as the cold 1/2 Bond Event process preceding a DO event (and that is even more speculative), and / or to the extent that a DO/Henrich set ought to have an analog in Bond Events (not very speculative at all):
THE reasonable thing to expect would be a modest cold event, followed by a warming event (DO Event), followed by significant cooling (Bond Event). And what have we had? A modest cold event in The Little Ice Age (with volcanoes, even…), followed by a warming event into 1998, followed by a sleepy sun and the start of significant cooling.
The pattern fits far more than I like…
IMHO, we cool strongly into about 2030-2040 and it takes another hundred years to dig our way back out of it.
If you look at this graph, you can see how we “wobble downward” over time with about 3 down dips per 2000 years, or roughly a 700 year period. (Looking at the thick black line)
Yet only one every 1500 years is counted as a Bond Event. What are the others?
As this graph is in BP, Before Present, some of the dates of “Empire Collapse” from above in “BP” years are:
4200 BP – First IP – Bond Event 3
3800 BP – Second IP
2800 – 2900 BP – Iron Age Cold Period – Bond Event 2
2055 BP – Roman Republic Ends
1534 BP – Roman Empire Ends
1475 BP – Dark Ages begin with 535 AD dark event. (The black line doesn’t dip much, but the thin blue one does)
760 BP – Little Ice Age Earliest start (Atlantic Ice Pack grows)
710 BP – Little Ice Age Middle start (European Summers not reliably warm)
695 BP – Little Ice Age Latest start (Great Famine of 1315)
There is little agreement about the exact start and end of the Little Ice Age, so I’ve included several variations.
The LIA also has a fuzzy ending. By about 200 BP it was over, but not until 18 Hundred And Froze To Death happened as a large volcano cooled things.
Comparing those various dates to the chart, they ‘eyeball’ as landing on a ‘down wiggle’ or close enough to be inside the margin of error.
Measuring from the ‘onset’ dates of 760 BP to 695 BP and adding 750 years gives “about now” as the next cycle date. That the sun has gone sleepy adds a certain sense of impending “something”…
Here is the graph George likes:
Per the data description of the composite chart (the one above this one) the GISP-2 data are the light blue line, so this graph ought to match the light blue line on the graph above it.
Welcome to Bond Event Zero (c)…
What to expect? The ancient Egyptian account tells of endless clouds. Similarly, the Roman accounts of the Dark Ages say they started with clouds obscuring the sun. Expect a load of clouds. GCR Caused? Or perhaps volcanic? Who knows. But they block the sun. It gets cold. Very cold. That leads to drying and especially in marginal areas like North Africa, dramatic crop failures. The Nile Floods did not happen as rain in the African mountains failed. The dams of today can help, but not over a multi-year cycle. Places with a lot of water moderation of the climate, and using fishing for food, like Greece, benefit. Northern Europe and North Africa “have issues”.
What empires are there, today, that are likely to “have issues”?
First up, the EU. It is, for all intents and purposes, the Roman Empire remade. Lacking only an Emperor. There is, of course, a nominal Senate, but the people don’t really get to have any power or control. It’s toast when the snows come but, then do not leave. The EU has claimed “control”, with that comes “responsibility” when the fictional control fails to deliver the goods.
Second up, the history in North America says that during Bond Events the center of the country dries out. That’s the “bread basket” midwest. I hope the USA can survive in isolation, but it will have little excess food to export under those conditions. Certainly not enough to fund ‘adventures’ around the world. US Influence fades and we likely have border issues with 80 million neighbors wanting some food…
What happens then? Who knows.
I’d speculate that Africa in particular will have issues, especially in the north / middle. (The tropical areas will likely be OK as they don’t seem to ever change much. Then again, they also are not very important to the world economy). Similarly, Brazil and Ecuador (perhaps spreading as far as Panama and Bolivia) ought to be OK. There is likely to be flooding for a while in tropical areas until the planet cools enough to have rains fall off, but other than that, the places just don’t change much. They have a huge variety of sensitive plants that say “not much drastic has happened” for thousands of years.
That leaves Asia. China likely has horrific drought. It has a large central desert. It’s on the edge of marginal. That gets worse. Japan lives from the sea, so ought to do OK, as would the Philippines. Indonesia would be OK, but for the tendency to blow off killer volcanoes during the cold times… I would expect wars to break out between the frozen Mongols, the Chinese, the southeast Asians with their rice lands (though with lower production) and perhaps including India. (Where monsoon failures would be horrific.) An exploration of the history of Asia might be enlightening here. I’m sure India and China have records…
And Russia just freezes. But then again, I’d not have thought anyone could live there as it is now ;-) Definitely a bit of a ‘dig here’ as to what conditions were like in Russia and Siberia during The Little Ice Age, The Dark Ages, and 900 BC.
I suppose the only “good bit” is that there might well be some cooling in the hot deserts of Persia, Saudi, and Iraq. Another bit of “dig here”, especially as we have nice records from Babylonia and the Assyrian empires. Though the fact that the Hittite Empire collapsed about 1080 BC implies that Turkey doesn’t do so well… and the HIttites were also in parts of Syria… But the Babylonian Empire was doing OK during that first cold period, so Iraq might benefit…
I note that the Sumerian Empire ended in about 2400 BC during a ‘warm phase’ when the Akkadians conquered them from closer to modern Syria. So it looks like warm phases favor the Syrian end of things, while the cool phase favors the Iraqi end.
What is historically quite clear, though, is that the area has a see-saw of empires with the cycle of the weather…
Can we get off this treadmill with modern technology? I’d like to hope so. But we’ve only got about 10 to 15 years to prepare and we are doing exactly the wrong things.
Unfortunately the ability of our political “leaders” has not progressed much since The Old Kingdom…