Putnam quoted in articles on Mongol Empire, weather research

Aaron Putnam, the George H. Denton Assistant Professor in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, was quoted in articles by The Christian Science Monitor and New Scientist about the effects weather had on the fall of the Mongol Empire. The Mongol Empire swept through Eastern Europe until an abrupt withdrawal in 1242, according to the New Scientist article. New research published in Scientific Reports suggests climatic and environmental fluctuations, including flooding, were the main factors for the retreat, the articles state. “The single most important element to the Mongol expansion was their reliance on horses,” Putnam, who was not involved in the study but has conducted similar research, told The Christian Science Monitor. “When they ventured into landscapes/climates not suitable for maintaining large herds of horses, their efforts began to falter.” He added that using a single environmental factor to explain a historical event is “always tricky,” but that the authors did a good job of making a solid chronological case. “I think it’s convincing,” he told New Scientist. “The previous explanations of the Mongol withdrawal didn’t add up.”