The abandonment of Cahokia marked the end of a period when the climate was relatively warm and moist over all of the Northern Hemisphere. That warm period followed a period of cold weather lasting from the second half of the third century until the ninth century c.e. There was heavy snow over much of Europe in the winter of 763-64, and the intense cold killed many olive and fig trees. The winter of 859-60 was so cold that the ice was thick enough to bear the weight of horse-drawn wagons on the Adriatic Sea close to Venice. In some places the cold period lasted even longer. The winter of 1010-11 was so harsh that there was ice on the Bosporus, the narrow waterway linking the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, in northern Turkey, and even on the River Nile in Egypt.
During this cold episode, winter snow and ice also became more common in China, and lychee and mandarin orange trees were killed by frost. Then warmer conditions returned. According to records from the royal gardens at Kyoto, Japan, by the 12th century the cherry blossom was flowering two weeks later than it had flowered in the ninth century.
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