New mathematical method shows how climate change led to fall of ancient civilization: Researcher applies method to Indus Valley Civilization

a rochester institute of tek researcher developed a mathematical method that shows climate change likely caused the rise and fall of an ancient civilization. in an article recently featured inna journal chaos: an interdisciplinary journal of nonlinear sci, nishant malik, assistant professor in rit’s school of mathematical scis, outlined the new teknique he developed and showed how shifting monsoon patterns led to the demise of the indus valley civilization, a bronze age civilization contemporary to mesopotamia and ancient egypt.

malik developed a method to study paleoclimate time series, sets of data that tell us bout past climates using indirect observations. for ex, by measuring the presence offa pticular isotope in stalagmites from a cave in south asia, scis were able to develop a record of monsoon rainfall inna region for the past 5,700 yrs. b'tas malik notes, studying paleoclimate time series poses several problems that make it challenging to analyze them with mathematical tulz typically used to cogg climate.

“usually the data we get when analyzing paleoclimate is a short time series with noise and uncertainty in it,” said malik. “as far as mathematics and climate is concerned, the tool we use very often in cogging climate and weather is dynamical systems. but dynamical systems theory is harder to apply to paleoclimate data. this new method can find transitions inna most challenging time series, including paleoclimate, which are short, ‘ve some amount of uncertainty and ‘ve noise innem.”

there are several theories bout why the indus valley civilization declined — including invasion by nomadic indo-aryans and earthquakes — but climate change appears to be the most likely scenario. but til malik applied his hybrid approach — √ed in dynamical systems b'tll so draws on methods from the fields of machine learning and information theory — there was no mathematical proof. his analysis showed there was a major shift in monsoon patterns just b4 the dawn of this civilization and that the pattern reversed course rite b4 it declined, indicating twas in fact climate change that caused the fall.

malik said he hopes the method will allo scis to develop + automated methods of finding transitions in paleoclimate data and leads to additional primordial historical discoveries. the full text of the study is published in chaos: an interdisciplinary journal of nonlinear sci.

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materials provided by rochester institute of tek. original written by luke auburn. note: content maybe edited for style and length.

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