Climate History Network

A network of interdisciplinary scholars who study climate change

Heading North for the Arctic Winter: Understanding Glaciers in Svalbard

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DSC_0035_modText and photographs by Benoit S. Lecavalier. 

In early February, I had the opportunity to gather with fellow scientists in Longyearbyen, the most northerly permanent village in the world. The town is in the Norwegian Archipelago of Svalbard at approximately 80°N latitude, slightly over a thousand kilometers from the North Pole. For that reason, it is the perfect place to explore the key issues currently facing the glaciological community. The most important: how do glaciers and large ice sheets respond to climate change, and affect global sea levels? While seemingly simple, this question can only be answered by unravelling complex relationships with potentially dire consequences for our civilization. Read more

Written by Dagomar

April 20, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Posted in In the News

Call for Postdoctoral Applications for “Studies in Climate Change: The Limits of the Numerical”

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U of ChicagoReview of Applications: April 17, 2015.
No Applications Accepted After: May 4, 2015.

The Limits of the Numerical Project at the University of Chicago invites applications for two Postdoctoral Scholar positions supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, both expected to last for a total of three academic years (2015-18). Each Postdoctoral Scholar will propose and pursue an in-depth study of the role numbers do and do not play in the humanistic understanding of environmental problems related to climate change. “Numbers” is interpreted broadly to include symbolic/mathematical languages.

We anticipate that one project will touch on studies of physical, biological, and policy sciences, and the other on the humanistic disciplines. This research will be performed in residence at the Franke Institute for the Humanities throughout the academic year (late September to mid-June). Our hope is for these projects to interact with and contribute to our larger, ongoing project to understand the role numbers play in areas that develop hermeneutic or interpretive approaches to the study of climate change. at project in turn belongs to a consortial eort, undertaken with Cambridge University and the University of California at Santa Barbara, who will be looking, respectively, at the cases of health care and higher education. Together, these three projects aim for some general conclusions about the powers and limitations of quantitative methods.

Each Postdoctoral Scholar at Chicago will be paired with a faculty mentor relevant to the project. Investigators from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Applicants must have led their PhDs between 7/1/10 and 7/1/15, and may not hold any other appointment during the period of the Postdoctoral Scholar position. A complete application includes cover letter, C.V., three references, and a 3-5 page project description, and it should be submitted via email to (Ms. Mai Vukcevich). For more, visit

Written by Dagomar

April 15, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Funding, Jobs

Volcanoes, Tambora, and the Little Ice Age in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience

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3-Vesuvius1-500x330In honor of the 200th anniversary of the Tambora eruption, the latest issue of Nature Geoscience focuses on past volcanic eruptions and their climatic and human impacts.  The feature includes commentaries by Clive Oppenheimer and by Christian Pfister and Jürg Luterbacher on Tambora and the “year without a summer” as well as editorials, correspondence, and a book review on volcanoes.  This week’s issue also contains a study presenting a synthesis of paleohydrology records from the Asian–Australian monsoon area covering the last 500 years.  The authors find that rather than shifting southwards in response to Little Ice Age cooling and volcanic aerosols, as usually supposed, seasonal movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone actually contracted in both directions.  This result suggests that during the LIA the gradual decline in insolation in the Northern Hemisphere due to orbital forcing alone (the precessional cycle) was overshadowed by larger changes in insolation in both hemispheres, likely a result of fluctuations in solar output and the impact of volcanic dust veils.

Written by samwhite2426

April 1, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Posted in In the News

CfP: History of Science Society annual meeting

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hss-logo-blackHSS 2015 Annual Meeting: Call for Papers

San Francisco, California, USA
19-22 November 2015

The History of Science Society will hold its 2015 Annual Meeting in the historic Westin St. Francis hotel in downtown San Francisco, across the street from Union Square.

The HSS encourages submissions on all topics. Proposals must be submitted on the HSS Web site ( or on the annual meeting proposal forms that are available from the HSS Executive Unlike most other academic societies, the HSS does not require that participants be members, but all participants must register for the meeting (organizers who invite speakers should ensure that registration fees are paid). Applicants are encouraged to propose sessions that include diverse participants: a mix of men and women, and/or a balance of professional ranks (i.e., mixing senior scholars with junior scholars and graduate students).

For more information, see the website here.

NB: Calls have already been going out for a panel on the history of meteorology (link here).

Written by samwhite2426

March 31, 2015 at 4:11 pm

CfP: American Meteorological Society Meeting History Symposium

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AMSCall for Proposals

14th Annual History Symposium

96th AMS Annual Meeting • 10–14 January 2016 • New Orleans, Louisiana

The theme for the 2016 AMS Annual Meeting, “Earth System Science in Service to Society”, weaves the many parts of AMS into a common core. Emphasizing the academic and research strength of AMS, the theme also connects that research to the benefits that society gains from our science. AMS merges the physical, chemical, and biological study of the Earth with human-centered “domains of action”: (1) Observing, (2) Analysis and research leading to understanding, (3) Modeling and prediction, and (4) Social sciences – how people deal with Earth. “Service to Society” explicitly evokes the integrated and complementary government and commercial enterprise that the AMS has done so much to foster over the last decade. The 2016 meeting integrates AMS’ proud, nearly 100-year history of making a positive difference in the lives of our citizens by continually communicating the advances of its science research to the public and policy makers.

Papers on all aspects of the history of atmospheric and related sciences are solicited for this symposium and those addressing to the annual meeting theme are especially encouraged.

Abstracts are due by: 3 August 2015
A $95 abstract fee is charged at the time of submission and includes the submission of your abstract, the posting of your extended abstract, and the recording, conversion, and posting of your presentation to the AMS Website.  The fee (payable by credit card or purchase order) is refundable only if your abstract is not accepted.

Please contact the program chairpersons, Lourdes Aviles or Joe Bassi, by 1 May 2015 if you would like to propose a session topic for this conference.  For additional information see the AMS website:

Written by samwhite2426

March 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Towards a Climate History of the Solar System

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Mars OceanNote: originally posted on

Climate historians and historical climatologists investigate past climate change in ways that contextualize modern warming. Until now, their research has investigated environmental changes on Earth. Many examine how climate change influenced human history in centuries when space travel could scarcely be imagined. Others are too concerned with global warming to consider studying environments beyond Earth. However, recent breakthroughs in scientific understandings of Mars’s watery past suggest that climate history can, and should, expand beyond Earth. Read more

Written by Dagomar

March 7, 2015 at 1:37 am

Posted in In the News

In the news: Past and Future California Droughts

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<From Origins>
The West without Water: What Can Past Droughts Tell Us About Tomorrow?

by B. Lynn Ingram

The West without Water: What Can Past Droughts Tell Us About Tomorrow?“Almost as soon as European settlers arrived in California they began advertising the place as the American Garden of Eden. And just as quickly people realized it was a garden with a very precarious water supply. Currently, California is in the middle of a years-long drought and the water crisis is threatening the region’s vital agricultural economy, not to mention the quality of life of its people, plants, and animals.  B. Lynn Ingram, Professor of Geography and Earth & Planetary Science, examines how a deep historical account of California’s water patterns can help us plan for the future…” (continued at

Written by Sam White

February 26, 2015 at 9:35 pm

Posted in In the News


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