Climate History Network

Workshop Update: Famines During the ‘Little Ice Age’ (1300-1800)

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SparrenburgOn February 19th, interdisciplinary scholars will meet at the Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Forschung in Bielefeld, to discuss relationships between early modern famine and climatic cooling. The official workshop announcement follows:

Global climate change has put famines back on the agenda. The predicted rise of extreme weather raises the question, how similar events were met in historical societies. However, such studies are challenged by disciplinary constraints. Famines occur at the interface of nature and culture. They involve both the bio-physical as well as the social sphere. Their entanglement highlights the co-evolvement of natural environment and social actions. This broad socio-ecological character extends beyond the reach of individual disciplines. As a result, popular references to the dramatic impact of famines during the premodern era are often based on conjectures.

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Written by Dagomar

January 22, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Posted in In the News

INQUA session CfP: Reconstructing Historical Climate Variability Using Documentary Sources

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NagoyaOnce every four years, the International Union for Quaternary Research holds a congress to exchange research and set the agenda for future meetings. This congress will be held next year in Nagoya, Japan, from July 27th to August 2nd. Professors David Nash and Rudolf Brazdil and have proposed a session entitled “Reconstructing Historical Climate Variability Using Documentary Sources,” and they are looking for papers. The session abstract is below. If you are interested in taking part, submit your abstract online before December 20 2014, at:

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Written by Dagomar

December 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Posted in In the News

Did Climate Change Cause Bronze Age Collapse?

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Minoan BoxersOriginally posted on 

In Europe, the “Bronze Age” lasted nearly 2,000 years, from approximately 3200 BCE to roughly 600 BCE. In this period, bronze tools were forged for the first time, revolutionizing how Europeans manipulated their world and competed for resources. The first trading networks connected the continent, as navigational knowledge reached heights that Europeans would not exceed until the fifteenth century.

Centralized “palace economies” flourished throughout Europe and the Middle East, in ancient civilizations we remember today: on Minoan Crete, in Mycenaean Greece, in the Mesopotamian conquests of the Hittites and Akkadians, and of course in Egypt. Then, in the centuries around 1000 BCE, populations collapsed across Europe and the Middle East, sometimes in remarkably sudden events that must have been even more traumatic than the fall of the Roman Empire. In many regions, small, scattered villages were all that remained of the great Bronze Age civilizations. In Europe, it would be centuries before societies of similar complexity would rise again. Read more

Written by Dagomar

December 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Posted in In the News

“Changing Climates of History”

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The online journal Public Books has published a review by John McNeill of five recent books in climate history by senior scholars, which I link to here.

Written by samwhite2426

December 3, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Publications

CfP: Climate Variability and Human Impacts in Central and Eastern Europe during the Last Two Millennia

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 The 1st Workshop of the PAGES Varves Working Group in Tallin (2009) significantly boosted existing paleo research and inspired a number of new activities related to varved lake sediments in Poland and the Baltic States (climate and environmental change, chronology etc.).  Following the success of this workshop, the Varves Working Group, along with PAGES’ the Euro-Med2k and LandCover6k groups will host a conference addressing climate variability and human impacts in central Europe during the last two millennia.

The specific goals of the proposed conference are to collate well dated, very high resolution data sets from different archives, which can contribute to the Euro-Med2k synthesis (and broader 2k Network synthesis) in 2016/2017. Furthermore, this meeting will explore questions about early human impacts and, in particular the question of how human impacts can be quantitatively separated from impacts of climate variability.

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations are invited for the following sessions:
1. Historical  climatology & documentary data
2. Climate reconstructions from natural archives
3. Past climate modeling, data-model comparisons
4. Proxy calibration
5. Past human impacts on the environment

Abstracts due: 31 Janaury 2015

This conference is co-sponsored by

PAGES 2k Network and Euro-Med 2k
PAGES Varves Working Group
PAGES LandCover6k
PSRP Climpol

Confirmed Invited Speakers include

Ulf Büntgen (CH), Rudolf Brázdil (CZ), Janusz Filipiak (PL), Marie-José Gallard-Lemdahl (SE), Juan-Jose Gomez-Navarro (CH), Martin Grosjean (CH), Ivan Hernandez-Almeida (CH), Zoltan Kern (HU), Andrea Kiss (HU), Mariusz Lamentowicz (PL), Isabelle Larocque (CH), Juerg Luterbacher (DE), Anneli Poska (EE), Rajmund Przybylak (PL), Olga N. Solomina (RU), Wojciech Tylmann (PL), Bernd Zolitschka (DE)

Written by Sam White

December 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Call for Proposals: “Ruling Climate”

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<adapted from H-Env>
Call for Papers: Deadline 10 December 2014


University of Warwick, 16 May 2015

rc_poster_image‘Ruling Climate’ aims to explore the relationship between cultural perceptions of the environment and practical attempts at environmental regulation and change between 1500 and 1800.  It will investigate this complex of problems in an interdisciplinary fashion, focusing particularly on three central research questions:

1) continuities and discrepancies between ancient and early modern climate theories: how were classical theories of climatic influence received and adjusted to new contexts in the early modern period? How did the understanding of climate itself change over time?

2) climate theories and ‘eco-governmentality’: how did climatological ideas inspire and sustain governmental efforts of various kinds, at both a domestic and a colonial level? e.g. the displacement of populations, environmental planning in connection to public health issues, engineering works, choice of specific sites for new colonies, etc.

3) governed with climate / governing climate: what is the relationship between theories of climatic influence and the development of strategies to cope with / modify climate and the environment? e.g. through agricultural improvement, increased human settlement, draining of bogs and marshes, deforestation, etc.

We welcome abstracts for 20-minute papers from PhD students and scholars at any stage in their career. Papers from all disciplinary backgrounds are welcome, including environmental history, colonial history, intellectual history, historical geography, history of philosophy, history of medicine, history of science, history of political thought, history of technology. Please send a 200-word abstract (including your name, institutional affiliation and a provisional title) and a one-page CV to by 10 December 2014. Successful speakers will be notified in January 2015.

Read the full announcement here.

Written by Sam White

November 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

CFP: 19th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research

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<from the INQUA website>
XIX INQUA Congress
Quaternary Perspectives on Climate Change, Natural Hazards and Civilization
27 July – 2 August, 2015, in Nagoya, Japan

The knowledge gained from Quaternary research, particularly from past records of unusual events and abrupt changes, is invaluable for understanding nature and taking appropriate actions to mitigate natural risks. Scientists involved in Quaternary studies must generously contribute their knowledge to help minimize the effects of disasters from hazardous natural processes.

Nagoya Castle

Once every four years, Quaternary researchers from all over the world meet at the INQUA Congress to exchange the latest research results and develop agendas for the years to come. In 2015, the Congress will take place in Nagoya, Japan. The Nagoya Congress Center (NCC), the venue, is the largest conference facility in central Japan. Nagoya is located between Tokyo and Osaka, connected to both cities by super-express trains (Shinkansen) departing every ten minutes. Kyoto and Nara, former capitals, Lake Biwa, and the Japan Alps are located within easy access of Nagoya.


The Congress program will address the themes of the Commissions during 6 days of oral and poster sessions, plenary presentations, and side meetings. The scientific program will be garnished with social events at scenic spots, and of course, in the tradition of INQUA Congresses, with attractive field trips before, during, and after the Congress week.

September 2014:
Call for scientific abstracts open

20 December 2014:
Deadline for abstract submission and financial support submission

Written by samwhite2426

November 19, 2014 at 6:45 pm


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