A new article published in the International Journal of Climatology offers a document-based hydrochronology of southwestern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Based on the journals of missionaries to central Namibia held in archives in Europe and Africa, the record demonstrates abnormally high interannual variability compared to contemporary records for other parts of Africa. Given the relative paucity of instrumental and proxy records for Africa, this article is a welcome addition to the body of historical climatology work. Read the full article here.
A new article in the Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate re-examines the role of solar forcing in the Maunder Minimum, concluding that decreased solar activity was one of many factors contributing to cooler weather during the period and is insufficient on its own to explain the shift. Drawing on updated models of solar activity and paleoclimate reconstructions, the authors argue that reduced solar irradiance was comparable to changing land use as a causal factor, in addition to significant volcanic forcing. Read the whole article here.
Nicholas Cunigan, our newsletter editor, has published the Fall 2017 issue of our Climate History Newsletter. You'll find podcast links, feature article summaries, calls for papers, conference updates, and our usual list of new scholarship. It's a big list, owing to a number of recent, groundbreaking publications in our field.
Download the issue by clicking here.
Sam White's new book A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe's Encounter with North America explores how the Little Ice Age impacted the first centuries of European exploration and colonization in North America, narrating the stories of Spanish, English, and French who ventured there. Find out more about the book here, in a new post by the author at historicalclimatology.com
A forthcoming paper in the Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica details the experience of the Little Ice Age in the Western Balkans. Drawing on chronicles from several microclimates, the author shows that uncharacteristic weather occurred in all seasons of the year, which negatively impacted food production. Genuine famine seems to have been rare, however, partly because farmers began planting maize and rice (which were more tolerant of Little Ice Age conditions in the Balkans). Particularly for this area with relatively fewer natural proxy records, this paper adds valuable detail to our understanding of the Little Ice Age.
Find the full article here.
The next International Conference of Historical Geographers will convene in Warsaw, Poland 15-20 July 2018. We would like to use this opportunity to organize several climate history panels and a meeting of the Climate History Network, similar to the very successful 2015 ICHG in London. The organizers in Warsaw have expressed interest in scheduling a series of non-overlapping panels on climate history, and while Warsaw is a little farther than London for most of us, it should be just as interesting and a lot more affordable!
Poster, paper, and panel proposals for the ICHG are due by Saturday 14 October 2017. (You can find the call for papers here: http://ichg2018.uw.edu.pl/2017/05/16/109/). If you are already submitting a session proposal related to climate history, please be in contact with us, especially if you might be able to add another presenter. If you'd like give a paper but don't have a complete panel ready, we’d be glad to help organize panels, as we did for the 2015 conference.
Please be in touch if you have any ideas or suggestions. We look forward to seeing many of you again in Warsaw, if not sooner!
Please direct correspondence to Sam White
I'd encourage all of you to help out with these ongoing projects if you can:
1) The PAGES Floods working group has launched a metadata collection of existing flood records (see: http://pastglobalchanges.org/ini/wg/floods/metadata-collection). The main goal of this list is to give an overview of all existing records of past floods from historical, botanical or geological archives. This list will be published open access in the coming weeks, and the working group also plans to submit a paper giving an overview of all archives of past flood occurrence and magnitude, including an overview of the data available. They have contacted us to see whether members could help ensure that their historical data are as complete as possible.
The criteria of selection are:
- the record should correspond to a flood chronicle at a given place (not just historical information about 1 flood event),
- the flood chronicle should be longer than 100 years
- the work should be published
If you know of appropriate sources, please visit http://pastglobalchanges.org/ini/wg/floods/metadata-collection for information on how to input the metadata. You many submit any files or direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Climate historians, environmental historians, graduate students and related specialists (i.e. anyone with a strong research and/or teaching interest in climate history) are invited to participate in an academic survey about the existing and potential uses of GIS and mapping software to capture primary resources, and research data and outputs. If you agree to participate, completion of the survey will take about 5-10 minutes. The survey will be open until October 16. Thank you, Tom Belton, Senior Archivist, Western University, London, Canada.
The survey can be found here: https://uwo.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9B9IFr0NjYNBO0B