Does climate change cause social crisis? March 25, 2014.
The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of generally cooler, and more variable, temperatures that was felt across most of the globe from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries. In the wake of a very cold winter in North America, and a very wet winter in Britain, it has been all over the news lately. For example, in the April issue of Foreign Affairs, Deborah Coen evaluated a major new study on the Little Ice Age by fellow historian Geoffrey Parker. In the March 23rd New York Times Sunday Review, Parker presented his “lessons from the Little Ice Age.” More
Major study interprets recent climate in light of past. February 20, 2014.
Last year the World Meteorological Organization released an important summary report on the world’s climate and how we make sense of it. The World’s Climate: 2001-2010 was unfortunately overshadowed by the publication of the Fifth Summary for Policymakers written by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, its conclusions are continuing to trickle through blogs and media outlets, as they shed new light on the past, present, and future of the world’s climate. More
Understanding Toronto's wild weather of 2013. January 15, 2014.
In Toronto, 2013 was a year of storms. The media storm kindled by the mayor’s chicanery was twice interrupted by meteorological storms that threatened lives and property on an unprecedented scale. On July 8th more than 100 mm of rain inundated the city in a matter of hours, triggering flash floods that caused more than $1 billion in property damage. Three days before Christmas, winter storm Gemini unleashed more freezing rain than was ever recorded in Toronto. More
Climate history is under attack in Canada. January 6, 2014.
In 2012 the Canadian government infamously announced changes to Library and Archives Canada that made it much harder for researchers to access their country’s documentary heritage. Rather than acquiring and maintaining a “comprehensive” collection, the LAC now aimed merely to gather a “representative” assembly of Canadian documents. Funding was slashed, employees were laid off, new acquisitions were paused, documents were sold, and resources were decentralized across Canada. More
Applying social learning to climate change research. December 20, 2013.
Most of the articles on this site have described the insights and methodologies of those who study climate change. Many conclude with a simple warning: to effectively address anthropogenic global warming, we need more inclusive ways to transform learning into practice. However, very few of these articles have explored how that can be done. With good reason: interdisciplinary work is never easy, and even harder is research that incorporates diverse perspectives from those closest to the effects of climate change. More
Did the "Little Ice Age" really exist? November 24, 2013.
For nearly a century, scholars have gradually reconstructed the existence of a so-called “Little Ice Age.” Their research is ongoing, but most now believe that average global temperatures declined by about 1°C between the thirteenth and the twelfth centuries. The extent, meteorological consequences, and timetable of cooling varied from region to region, but sorting through these statistical complexities still yields a clear downward trend in planetary temperatures. More
Best of the Web: April 2014
Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. IPCC Working Group II
Our Year of Extremes: did Climate Change just Hit Home? NBC News
White House Brings Together Big Data & Climate Change. Climate Central
Ancient stormy weather: World's oldest weather report could revise bronze age chronology. Science Daily
A fifteenth-century depiction of the St. Elizabeth's Flood (1421), in the Northern Low Countries. Outer right wing of an altarpiece dedicated to Saint Elizabeth, c. 1490-1495.