5,200 years ago, the weather went wild. On November 9, 2003,Unknowncountry.comreported thatevidence had been discovered that past climate changehappened in hours.

This evidence was found in Peru, when cores drilled to thebase of a glacier uncovered plants that had been frozen sofast that their cellular structure remained intact. Thismeant that the freezing process took just minutes, or atmost a few hours. The plants had remained locked in theglacier ever since.

At the time, this finding was called “astounding,” and nowthe discoverer, Lonnie Thompson has reported to the AmericanGeophysical Union that the sudden climate catastrophe thathappened then might be happening again.

Thompson is convinced, based on a meticulous study of icecores and historic records, that climate does change rapidlyand dramatically.

5,200 years ago, alpine meadows from Peru to Switzerlandwere suddenly buried in mountains of snow. Oetzi, the famousice man, was caught in one of the storms in Switzerland andremained frozen until 1991. The world climate suddenlybecame much drier and colder as water vapor was trapped inice. The Sahara desert appeared, destroying in a matter ofyears a vast temperate region and turning it to a sandywaste. Worldwide drought ravaged forest and grassland alike.What happened to human beings–of which there were about 250million on the planet at the time–remains obscure, butdocuments like the Popul vuh, which describes an enormousupheaval, suggest that extraordinary climactic violenceaccompanied the change.

The sun might have been to blame. There is evidence thatsolar output dropped suddenly, then shot up again. Theincrease in temperature caused equally violent changes, withmassive ice melts worldwide. It is possible that this eventis recorded in worldwide flood stories that date fromapproximately 4,000 years ago and are present in virtuallyevery culture.

Thompson says, “the evidence is clear that a major climatechange is underway.”

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