Climate and the Migration of Early Modern Humans: A Modelling Perspective
Theories of human and cultural evolution, and human migration, frequently invoke climate change as a determinant; yet evidence that quantifies how climate impacted the human condition is often lacking. In this talk I address how climate models might be used to further our understanding in these areas. I will focus on recent work we have conducted using the UVic Earth System Climate Model (ESCM). This model consists of an ocean GCM coupled to a thermodynamic/dynamic sea ice model, an ocean carbon cycle model, a dynamic energy-moisture balance atmosphere model, a thermomechanical ice sheet model, a land surface model and a terrestrial dynamic vegetation and carbon cycle model. Four specific examples will be addressed: the first concerns an assessment of possible ocean routes during Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum climates that could be used to reach the Americas. The second concerns an examination of the Clovis-first hypothesis using hookworm information, paleoclimate data and climate model simulations. The third reexamines the potential role of drift voyages in the discovery of new island groups in western Oceania. I conclude with a discussion as to how abrupt climate change associated with Heinrich Events, which occurred episodically during the last glacial cycle, might have compelled early Homo sapiens to migrate out of Africa.
Keywords: Climate Modelling, Clovis, Peopling of the Americas, Peopling of Oceania, Human Migration
Prof. Andrew J. Weaver
Professor and Canada Research Chair, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria