Climate History Network

A network of interdisciplinary scholars who study climate change

Upcoming Past Global Changes (PAGES) Meetings and Panels

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<Upcoming PAGES climate-related meetings and panels.  For more, see the latest newsletter, or visit the PAGES website>

► Upcoming deadlines to attend PAGES-endorsed meetings

Antarctica2k 2015 meeting
3-4 September 2015, Venice, Italy
Registration deadline: 31 May 2015

1st Ocean2k workshop
6-8 October 2015, Barcelona, Spain
To register submit a proposal contact organizers. Proposals can still be submitted during the review period.

Aus2k: Australasian paleoclimate of the last 2k: Intercomparison of climate field reconstruction methodologies, modeling, & data synthesis approaches
27-29 October 2015, Auckland, New Zealand
Submit an abstract by 15 August 2015

►  Our Common Future under Climate Change

This international scientific conference in Paris from 7-10 July will be the largest forum for the scientific community to come together ahead of the COP21, with many of the GEC community in attendance.

Register by 8 June 2015:

Written by Sam White

May 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Message about upcoming climate history meetings at the ICHG and ESEH

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At the upcoming International Conference of Historical Geographers in London this July, the organizers have set aside space for a meeting on climate history and historical climatology.  We’d like to use this as an opportunity to plan out future events and projects for the field.  Our impressions from talking with many of you are that we don’t necessarily need our own climate history conference or journal, but we could use more opportunities to meet and share our work in the field.  In particular, we’re considering starting a listserv and possibly a newsletter for climate history, and would like to hear your ideas about the best way to do that.  We’d also like to take this opportunity to coordinate climate history panel proposals for future international conferences, as we did for the ICHG, in order to bring together a critical mass of scholars in the field.  Finally, we could set up the Climate History Network as a non-profit in the US or UK so that we could open a bank account for small transactions, such as food and coffee at meetings, or even a small annual climate history article or book prize.  In the meantime, we would be grateful to hear your ideas and suggestions.  The meeting is scheduled for 13:15 on Tuesday, July 7.  Participants can pick up their lunches, provided by the conference, and bring them to the room.

In addition to the meeting at the ICHG, we’d like to propose a more informal discussion of plans for climate history and historical climatology at the upcoming European Society for Environmental History in Versailles.  Dagomar and Sam will be presenting on a panel about Canadian climate history in the late morning session of July 1.  If anyone would like to join us for lunch afterwards, please let us know, and we’ll try to find a suitable place to meet.  More details to follow.

We look forward to seeing you again soon, in Paris or in London.

Best wishes,

Sam White

Dagomar Degroot

Georgina Endfield

Written by Sam White

May 26, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Workshop Report: Climate and Society in Byzantine and Ottoman Anatolia, 300-1900CE

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Landscape around Konya (Sille) in a summer of droughtWorkshop Report: Climate and Society in Byzantine and Ottoman Anatolia, 300-1900CE

Towards understanding the impact of climate on complex societies of the pre-industrial era, 1-3 May 2015

Building on the 2013 meeting Climate in Byzantine Anatolia, Prof. John Haldon of Princeton University convened a group of some two dozen researchers in history, archaeology, environmental modeling, and climate science for a second three-day workshop. The meeting emphasized the sharing of information and perspectives from diverse fields in order to produce more effective multi-disciplinary research. In particular, participants tried to work out how climatology and environmental sciences could best present their findings to make them useful for historians and archaeologists, and vice versa. While focused on climate in Anatolia, the workshop also brought in perspectives from recent archaeological work on climate and land use early imperial China (Arlene Rosen) and an ongoing project examining precipitation changes, vegetation history, and the rise of the Mongol Empire (Nicola Di Cosmo, Hanqin Tian, Shufen Pan). Additional presentations examined the relationship among climate and livestock diseases in medieval Europe (Tim Newfield) and the history of earthquakes in the Byzantine Empire (Lee Mordechai).

Presenters examined climate and human history in Anatolia from a range of perspectives. In the first session, Deniz Bozkurt explained regional climate processes and large-scale forcing drawing on instrumental weather data and climate models; and Sam White discussed the findings of his previous book, The Climate of Rebellion in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Cambridge, 2011), as well as more recent studies in Ottoman climate history and what implications they might have for the study of climate in the Byzantine Empire.

Several presentations drew on recent and ongoing studies of Anatolian lake sediments. Samantha Allcock examined the long-term vegetation and climate history around Nar Lake, concluding that climate could have been one of several drivers of regional land use and population change particularly during the 7th-8th centuries AD. Neil Roberts demonstrated evidence from oxygen isotope ratios in annually varved lake sediments for major droughts during the last several centuries in Anatolia, including the late 16th-century drought described in Climate of Rebellion. Warren Eastwood and Çetin Şenkul presented ongoing research comparing Ottoman cadastral surveys to cereal pollen counts in annually varved lake sediments, providing a way to test the reliability of those records and to fill in gaps in written evidence of land use. Sena Akçer-Ön discussed two studies analyzing the isotopic record and geomorphology of Küçükçekmece Lagoon in Istanbul and Lake Bafa in southwestern Turkey. One presetation, by Sturt Manning, discussed tree-ring studies in different regions of Anatolia, emphasizing the value of dendro data for precise high-resolution climate reconstructions.

Another group of presenters discussed recent and ongoing archaeological work that could shed light on land use and climate change impacts in Late Antique and Byzantine Anatolia.   These included findings from an archaeological investigation of Pontus during the 1st-8th centuries AD (Owen Doonan), the excavation of mid-late Byzantine Çadır Höyük (Marica Cassis), and a recent dissertation on the architecture of Late Antique and Byzantine urban water supplies systems (Jordan Pickett). Tying together many of the themes of the workshop, Adam Izdebski, Elena Xoplaki, and Dominik Fleitmann presented on their recent work leading an multidisciplinary team of historians and climate scientists to reconstruct and model climatic changes and impacts in Anatolia during the Medieval Climate Anomaly. To close the meeting, Prof. Izdebski discussed the lessons learned from this project in forging successful interdisciplinary research collaborations and publications.

Written by Sam White

May 21, 2015 at 12:59 pm

CfP: Workshop: The Crisis of the 14th Century: ‘Teleconnections’ between Environmental and Societal Change?

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logo-dhi-mainThe Crisis of the 14th Century: ‘Teleconnections’ between Environmental and Societal Change?

Organizers: Martin Bauch (Deutsches Historisches Institut in Rom); Gerrit J. Schenk (Technische Universität Darmstadt)

Location: German Historical Institute in Rome, 24-26 February 2016

Deadline: 30 June 2015

Conference Summary: The first half of the 14th century, the transition from the so-called Medieval Climate Anomaly to the so-called Little Ice Age, is one of the few climatic events indicated about equally well in written and physical source.  The ‘crisis of the 14th century’ has also become an established interpretation for certain developments and problems of late medieval Europe. However, such an interpretation has been criticized by some as a contemporary projection of the crisis-ridden 20th and 21st centuries onto the past.

The conference will focus on the imputed climatic deterioration of the 1300s and its presumed impact on medieval economy, society, environment, and culture.   The organizers are calling for proposals for 30-minute presentations. The conference language will be English. Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a short CV, by 30 June 2015 to both Gerrit J. Schenk (Darmstadt University of Technology) at and Martin Bauch (German Historical Institute Rome) at  Accommodation during the conference and travel expenses will be covered.

For more information, see the full conference description and call for papers here.

Written by Sam White

May 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Posted in In the News

Workshop Report: Famines during the Little Ice Age

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SparrenburgThe organizers of the workshop “Famines during the Little Ice Age,” held in Bielefeld in February, have posted a report here.  The meeting, which brought together presentations from more than a dozen geographers, historians and climatologists, focused on advancing interdisciplinary research in medieval and early modern European climate reconstruction, the causes and consequences of famine, and human perceptions and adaptations to climate change and extreme weather.

Written by Sam White

April 27, 2015 at 1:53 am

Special Issue of Méditerranée on the Little Ice Age in the Mediterranean

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mediterranneeThe latest issue of the journal (dated 2014, but only just released) compiles a number of studies from diverse disciplines which together help define the geographical and temporal characteristics of the Little Ice Age in the Mediterranean.  These range from studies of floods in Spain, to documentary records in Venice, to pollen in Syria and sea-level changes in the Caspian.  Introductory and concluding articles discuss the historiographical significance of this ongoing research (although I would beg to differ with the author of the Postface that there is really much divide between French and “Anglo-Saxon” approaches to climate and history).

Written by samwhite2426

April 21, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Publications

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


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