Dust Veil of AD 536

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According to written records and supported by dendrochronology and archaeological evidence, for 12-18 months in AD 536-537, a thick, persistent dust veil or dry fog darkened the skies between Europe and Asia Minor. The climatic interruption brought by the thick, bluish fog extended as far east as China, where summer frosts and snow are recorded in historical records; tree ring data from Mongolia and Siberia to Argentina and Chile reflect decreased growing records from 536 and the subsequent decade.

The climatic effects of the dust veil brought decreased temperatures, drought and food shortages throughout the affected regions: in Europe two years later came the Justinian smallpox plague. The combination killed perhaps as much as 1/3 of the population of Europe; in China the famine killed perhaps 80% of people in some regions; in Scandinavia the losses may be been as much as 75-90% of the population, as evidenced by the numbers of deserted villages and cemeteries. Continue reading

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