Roman Warm Period

Warm weather period, 250 BC to AD 400

The Roman Warm Period, or Roman Climatic Optimum, was a period of unusually warm weather in Europe and the North Atlantic that ran from approximately 250 BC to AD 400. Theophrastus (371 – c. 287 BC) wrote that date trees could grow in Greece if they were planted, but that they could not set fruit there. That is the case today, implying that South Aegean mean summer temperatures in the 4th and 5th centuries BC were within a degree of modern ones. That and other literary fragments from the time confirm that the Greek climate then was basically the same as it was around 2000. Tree rings from the Italian Peninsula in the late 3rd century BC indicate a time of mild conditions there at the time of Hannibal's crossing of the Alps with imported elephants (218 BC).

Dendrochronological evidence from wood found at the Parthenon shows variability of climate in the 5th century BC, which resembles the modern pattern of variation.

Cooling at the end of the period is noted in Southwest Florida. This may have been due to a reduction in solar radiation reaching the Earth, which may have triggered a change in atmospheric circulation patterns.

The phrase "Roman Warm Period" appears in a 1995 doctoral thesis. It was popularized by an article published in Nature in 1999.

More recent research, including a 2019 analysis based on a much larger dataset of climate proxies, has found that this putative period, along with other warmer or colder pre-industrial periods such as the "Little Ice Age" and "Medieval Warm Period" were regional phenomena, not globally coherent episodes. This analysis uses the temperature record of the last 2,000 years dataset compiled by the PAGES 2k Consortium 2017.



A high-resolution pollen analysis of a core from Galicia concluded in 2003 that the Roman Warm Period lasted from 250 BC to AD 450 in northwestern Iberia.


A 1986 analysis of Alpine glaciers concluded that the period AD 100–400 period was significantly warmer than centuries before and after. Artifacts recovered from the retreating Schnidejoch glacier have been taken as evidence for the Bronze Age, Roman, and Medieval Warm Periods.

Deep ocean sediment

A 1999 reconstruction of ocean current patterns, based on the granularity of dee... more

Medieval Warm Period
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Medieval Warm Period ...   950 and c.  1100 was the Northern Hemisphere's warmest period since the Roman Warm Period. It was only in the 20th and 21st centuries that the Northern...

Solar minimum
4 months ago

Solar minimum ... Solar minimum is the period of least solar activity in the 11-year solar cycle of the Sun. During this time, sunspot and solar flare activity diminishes...

List of periods and events in climate history
4 months ago

List of periods and events in climate history ... associated with the Homeric Minimum 250 BC – 400 AD Roman Warm Period 250 BC–400 AD Roman Warm Period Climate changes of 535-536 (535–536 AD), sudden cooling...

The Swale
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The Swale ... these times the Swale was a gully from what had been a sea channel in very warm periods. Namely before the Strait of Dover had swept away so much swampy...

Iron Age Cold Epoch
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Iron Age Cold Epoch ... BC during the expansion of ancient Greece. It was followed by the Roman Warm Period (250 BC – 400 AD). Gribbin, John; Lamb, H. H. (1978). "Climatic change...

Late Antique Little Ice Age
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Late Antique Little Ice Age ... and the Balkans. Migration Period Little Ice Age Maunder Minimum Roman Warm Period Michael Greshko (August 23, 2019). "Colossal volcano behind 'mystery'...

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IJssel ... (Old Norse eisa "to race forward", Latin ira "anger"). Before the Roman Warm Period, the Zuiderzee in highly glaciated times was a brackish, sometimes...

Climate variability and change
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Climate variability and change ... warm periods have also taken place, and they include but are not limited to: a warm period during the apex of the Minoan civilization the Roman Warm Period...

Climate of ancient Rome
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Climate of ancient Rome ... prevented the Celtiberians from relieving the Roman siege of Contrebia). Through the 2nd century AD warm temperatures dominated particularly in the Austrian...

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Ebro ... town of Amposta. Recorded and thus confirmed as a seaport in the Roman Warm Period in the 4th century, it is now well inland from the mouths. The rounded...

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Dunkirk transgression
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Middle Ages
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Early Middle Ages
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Roman Britain
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Hockey stick graph
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Catholic Church
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