Europe’s past booms and busts, often driven by natural changes in climate, has been revealed
using thousand-year-old pollen, spores and charcoal particles fossilized in glacial ice.
The analysis of microfossils preserved in European glaciers also revealed earlier-than-expected evidence of air pollution and the roots of modern invasive species problems. The study looked at pollen, spores, charcoal and other pollutants frozen in the Colle Gnifetti glacier on the Swiss and Italian border. The research found changes in the composition of these microfossils corresponded closely with known major events in climate, such as the Little Ice Age and well-established volcanic eruptions.