Archive for February 2012
Just days after a deep cold spell in Moscow broke and normal winter weather returned, an international group of scholars met there to discuss the topic of cold climatic conditions in Russian history at a conference sponsored by the Rachel Carson Center and the German Historical Institute. The meeting occurred at the Moscow branch of the German Historical Institute and was organized by Julia Herzberg, Ingrid Schierle, Andreas Renner, and Klaus Gestwa. With the goals of expanding Russian environmental history into the realm of climate history and of contemplating a specific climatic phenomenon characteristic of Russia (the cold), workshop participants engaged in wide-ranging approaches to the topic. Some interrogated the cold in Siberian identity formation and adaptation strategies (Svetlana Rafikova, Ekaterina Degal´tseva, Nataliia Rodigina). Others looked at the Arctic realms of Russia in particular and the way the cold shaped its exploration and development (Paul Josephson, David Saunders). Some scholars contemplated the influence of frozen conditions on Russian and Soviet science (Julia Lajus, Jonathan Oldfield, Denis J. B. Shaw, Erki Tammiksaar, Pey-Yi Chu), tourism (Aleksei Popov), gender identity (Aleksandr Anan´ev), and war (Aleksandr Kuz´minykh). Participants analyzed the influence of the especially difficult winters of 1917 and 1946-7 on transportation (Anthony Heywood) and survival strategies (Katarzyna Chimiak). Papers also examined real and perceived threats related to ice and snow such as avalanches (Marc Elie, Andy Bruno), the re-freezing of melted snow on nomads’ pastures (Ian Campbell), and the Russian abominable snowman (Carolin Roeder). Finally, a group of researchers considered the literary (Susanne Frank), cinematic (Oksana Bulgakova, Roman Mauer), and spiritual (J. P. Schovanec) implications of the frost, ice, and snow in Russian history.
Check out the conference website for the official conference report.
On May 23-24, 2012, the University of Oregon and its Robert D. Clark Honors College will host a student-focused conference on “Indigenous People, Climate Change, and Environmental Knowledge.” Students from a diversity of disciplines will present research related to climate and culture in the Americas alongside faculty and graduate students.
Students will present their research in either oral paper panels or poster sessions, and a broader local and regional community will be invited to participate, including American Indian and Alaska Native students from tribal colleges and others from native communities.
The conference will also have keynote lectures from indigenous leaders involved in climate change issues from Alaska to the continental United States.
The conference is sponsored by the Americas in a Globalized World Big Idea at the University of Oregon, with additional funding from the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, Robert D. Clark Honors College, Latin American Studies, Environmental Studies Program, Climate Change Research Group, and other campus units.
An article just published in Geophysical Research Letters and widely picked up by the media argues that the Little Ice Age was triggered by a series of large tropical eruptions in the late 13th and mid-15th centuries and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks. Lead author Gifford Miller and colleagues traced the abrupt expansion of Canadian ice cover during these events, indicative of summer cooling. Using previous studies of Iceland sea-ice expansion and global circulation models, the authors theorize that expanding ice cover could have cooled the North Atlantic through albedo effects and slowed the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. The study suggests that even though volcanic dust veils might only last a few years, volcanic activity could have had a more enduring influence on climate. The article concludes that the LIA didn’t need a solar trigger at all — an intriguing but likely controversial assessment.
Upcoming Conference – Climate, Environment, Settlement and Society: Changing Historic Patterns in Ireland
“The Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement (GSIHS)’s thematic Conference for 2012 will take place in All Hallows College, Drumcondra, Dublin, 24-26 February, and is co-organised by the Discovery Programme and the Irish Environmental History Network.
The conference theme is Climate, Environment, Settlement and Society: Changing Historic Patterns in Ireland and will feature a Keynote Lecture by Prof. Michael O’Connell of the National University of Ireland, Galway, entitled: “Climate, environment and farming in Ireland During the last two millennia: insights from palaeoecology.”
A full program is available at: http://irishsettlement.ie/climate-conference-programme/
online registration is at: http://irishsettlement.ie/conferences/thematic/register-gsihs-conference-2012/