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Could Climatic Change Have Had An Influence On The Polynesian Migrations

H. Bridgman
Published 1983 · Geology

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Abstract A hypothesis is presented that a change in climate after 1250 AD from a period of optimal climate for long-distance voyaging (the Little Climatic Optimum, 750–1250 AD) to a period of less favourable and finally inhospitable climate for long-distance voyaging (the Little Ice Age, 1400–1850 AD) influenced the Polynesian migrations (300–1400 AD). The Little Climatic Optimum, with its persistent trade winds, clear skies, limited storminess, and consistent Walker Circulation may have been an ideal setting for migration. The Little Ice Age with its increased variability in trade winds, erratic Walker Circulation, increased storminess, and increased dust from volcanism may have helped [prevent migration. Such changes in climate would influence the migration pattern through physical perception and decision making by the Polynesians, rather than having a direct impact.
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