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Climate, Catastrophe, Collapse? Using Climatic and Cultural History to Understand El Niño’s Role in Ancient Peru

September 19, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The 2018 Geddes W. Simpson Lecture presents

Dr. Daniel H. Sandweiss
Professor of Anthropology and Climate Studies

Everyone has heard of El Niño, the climatic anomaly that affects weather around the Pacific Basin and beyond at irregular intervals. Although some people benefit from the classic or canonical El Niño—here in the Northeast we tend to have warmer winters, and in the Caribbean there are fewer hurricanes—for most it is a catastrophe. In the western Pacific, severe droughts cause crops and pastures to wither, while forest fires destroy jungles and lead to respiratory health problems. In the eastern Pacific, and particularly in Peru where I work, El Niño brings destructive torrential rains to the desert coast, destroying crops and infrastructure.

Geddes W. Simpson Lecture Series Fund. The Geddes W. Simpson Lecture Series features speakers of prominence “who have provided significant insight into the area where science and history intersect.” The Geddes W. Simpson Lecture Series Fund was established at the University of Maine Foundation in 2001 by the family of Geddes Wilson Simpson, a well-respected faculty member who began his 55-year career with the UMaine College of Life Sciences and the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station in 1931. Simpson was named chair of the Entomology Department in 1954 and remained in that position for 20 years until his retirement.


September 19, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


McIntire Room, Buchanan Alumni House
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469 United States
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