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How the Romans wore togas in winter

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London - How did the Romans grow grapes in northern England? Perhaps because it was warmer than we thought.

A study suggests the Britain of 2,000 years ago experienced a lengthy period of hotter summers than today.

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A crop in a field in the county of Somerset, western England, lies partially covered with snow Sunday, Jan. 10 2010, amid fears that British farmers' crops may be affected by the severe weather after weather forecasters warned up to 20cm more snow could settle in many parts of the UK over the next day or two. (AP Photo / Ben Birchall, PA) ** UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE **

German researchers used data from tree rings – a key indicator of past climate – to claim the world has been on a “long-term cooling trend” for two millennia until the global warming of the twentieth century.

This cooling was punctuated by a couple of warm spells. These are the Medieval Warm Period, which is well known, but also a period during the toga-wearing Roman times when temperatures were apparently 1 deg C warmer than now.

They say the very warm period during the years 21 to 50AD has been underestimated by climate scientists. Lead author Professor Dr Jan Esper of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz said: “We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low.

“This figure we calculated may not seem particularly significant, however it is not negligible when compared to global warming, which up to now has been less than 1 deg C.”

In general the scientists found a slow cooling of 0.6C over 2,000 years, which they attributed to changes in the Earth’s orbit which took it further away from the Sun.

The study is published in Nature Climate Change. - Daily Mail

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