Tree rings link political turmoil to climate changes

Ulf Buntgen, a paleoclimatologist at the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape, believes political history can be read in the trees. He is the co-author of a study which links the "rise and fall of past civilisations and sudden shifts in Europe's climate."

Research shows that favorable weather conditions produce wider tree rings while times of drought can be mapped through thinner rings. This data has been compared with the rise and fall of European civilizations, including Roman and medieval, in the new study.