Mayan pyramid in Chichen-Itza, Mexico. Space observations provide clues as to how ancient civilizations, like that of the Mayans and the Old Kingdom of Egypt, collapsed. Source: Shutterstock.
It’s not surprising that climate change has doomed so many populations, Blom says. After all, it was when weather patterns finally became predictable about 11,500 years ago that complex civilizations finally formed in the first place. A stable climate ensured that crops would grow year after year, and a reliable source of food freed people to settle down and develop culture.