Mythical FimbulWinter Might Have Really Happened in Norway

Artwork by Stefan Keller

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Fimbulwinter is the harsh winter that precedes the end of the world and puts an end to all life on Earth, according to Norse Mythology. The Nordic researchers believe the myth might be a real climate disaster which happened in 535–536.

Fimbulwinter is three successive winters, when snow comes in from all directions, without any intervening summer. Then, there will be innumerable wars, according to Norse mythology and the Finns’ national post Kalevala.

The event is described primarily in the Poetic Edda. In Denmark, Norway, Sweden and other Nordic countries, the term fimbulvinter is still used to refer to an unusually cold and harsh winter.

Researchers in Norway and Sweden have in recent years found an increasing number of evidences of a disaster that struck the world and the region 1500 years ago, according to forskning.no.

The recent finding point out mythology might be related to the extreme weather events of 535–536, which resulted in a notable drop in temperature across northern Europe. There have also been several popular ideas about whether or not the particular piece of mythology has a connection to the climate change that occurred in the Nordic countries at the end of the Nordic Bronze Age from about 650 BC. Before that climate change, the Nordic countries were considerably warmer.

Half of Norway Died

Probably half of the people died in Norway and Sweden. Researchers now know more and more about the disaster. First the Fimbulwinter lasted three years.

The disaster must have hit Norwegians and Swedes harder. In 1910, the Swedish geographer researcher Rutger Sernander first launched the theory that the Fimbul winter may have been a real event in the Nordic countries. His hypothesis was that this was due to a climate catastrophe between 2000 and 2500 years ago.

Yet archaeologists did not find any evidence to support Sernander’s theory.

Now the recent finding indicate the climate catastrophe hit the world – and especially the Nordic countries 1500 years ago.

NASA and a Swedish archaeologist

The new research for the Fimbul winter started with the American space agency NASA in 1983, according to forskning.no.

Then the two NASA researchers Richard Stothers and Michael Rampino published a scientific overview of known volcanic eruptions back in time. Most of the research was based on ice cores picked up by the ancient ice sheet in Greenland.

Archaeologists came to conslusion that something very dramatic might have happened in the year 536.

Swedish professor Bo Gräslund from Uppsala University was the first to suggest that the Fimbul winter was a real event, and that it took place in the years after 536. He also pointed out that it was not only very cold and snowy winters but also no summer came several years.

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