EGU Topical Conference Series
6th Alexander von Humboldt International Conference
Climate Change, Natural Hazards, and Societies
Merida, Mexico, 14 – 19 March 2010

Aims & Scope

Climate Changes are likely to have contributed to the decline of ancient civilizations such as those of the Maya in southeastern Mexico and Central America or Pueblo Indians in North America. The catastrophic eruption of Thera (~1600 B.C.) buried ancient Akrotiri on Santorini and even Knossos on Crete and probably accelerated the decline of the Minoan culture.

Present day societies are vulnerable to climate changes, sea level rise, and natural disasters as well. Megacities such as Tokyo or Mexico City are particularly prone to hazards related to volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and flooding, not to mention such rare and extreme events as large meteorite impacts. For example, the eruption of El Chichon in 1982 caused the worst volcanic disaster in the recorded history of Mexico. The devastating 1985 Mexico City earthquake (M-8.1) prompted the creation of Mexico's national agency to deal with natural disasters. And in 2007 Mexico experienced massive flooding in the States of Tabasco and Chiapas, affecting more than a million people.

This interdisciplinary conference aims at fostering our understanding of the impact of climate changes and natural disasters on past and present societies, with emphasis on anthropogenic impacts in increasingly complex systems.

We expect that Merida, located close to principal archaeological sites and remains of the Maya culture, inside the huge Chicxulub impact crater, will be a particularly stimulating place for the topics of this interdisciplinary conference.