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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 13;107(15):6748-52. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0910827107. Epub 2010 Mar 29.

Climate as a contributing factor in the demise of Angkor, Cambodia.

Author information

1
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA. bmb@ldeo.columbia.edu

Abstract

The "hydraulic city" of Angkor, the capitol of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia, experienced decades-long drought interspersed with intense monsoons in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that, in combination with other factors, contributed to its eventual demise. The climatic evidence comes from a seven-and-a-half century robust hydroclimate reconstruction from tropical southern Vietnamese tree rings. The Angkor droughts were of a duration and severity that would have impacted the sprawling city's water supply and agricultural productivity, while high-magnitude monsoon years damaged its water control infrastructure. Hydroclimate variability for this region is strongly and inversely correlated with tropical Pacific sea surface temperature, indicating that a warm Pacific and El Niño events induce drought at interannual and interdecadal time scales, and that low-frequency variations of tropical Pacific climate can exert significant influence over Southeast Asian climate and society.

PMID:
20351244
PMCID:
PMC2872380
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0910827107
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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