“Lighthouses in the Empire”: History of Ice and Place in the “Mountains of the Moon," Uganda. September 9, 2017.
Mount Emin. Mount Baker. Mount Stanley. It is rare for a location to excite so many disparate sensibilities, but the post-colonial scholar, glaciologist, botanist, and climate scientist find themselves welcome bedfellows in the Rwenzori Mountains of central Africa. More
Will Climate Change Cause Conflict in the Arctic? Searching for Answers in the Past. July 25, 2017.
In article after article, academics, policy analysts, and journalists have told a similar story: climate change, by melting Arctic ice, is unlocking resources that could soon trigger war in the far north. They argue that the race to extract the reservoirs of oil and natural gas that lie under the vanishing ice will provoke hostilities between nations eager to claim the bonanza. More
Weather Markets: Accounting for Climate in Early American Agri-business. June 22, 2017.
When Monsanto spent $1 billion in 2013 to purchase Climate Corporation, its climate data, and its algorithms for using machine learning to predict weather, everyone from farmers to The New Yorker concluded that agri-business believed the climate science consensus: climate change is real and it introduces real risks to business. More
“Bread or Blood”: Climate Insecurity in East Anglia in 1816. May 17, 2017.
The recent bicentenary of the Year without a Summer (1816) has brought that unusual intersection of geological forces, changing climate, and human history into focus again. The radical cooling brought on by Tambora’s eruption seems especially significant as modern societies face their own dramatic climate change. More
A Conversation with Dr. Bathsheba Demuth: Capitalism, Communism, and Indigenous Communities in a Changing Arctic. April 6, 2017.
In the seventh episode of the Climate History Podcast, Dr. Dagomar Degroot interviews a fast-rising star in the field of environmental history: Dr. Bathsheba Demuth, assistant director of HistoricalClimatology.com and the Climate History Network. Dr. Demuth is an assistant professor at Brown University, where she specializes in the history of Arctic lands and seas. More
Iceberg Utilization: A Panacea for a Thirsty World? March 27, 2017.
Ice, or a lack of it, is an “icon” of anthropogenic climate change. Earlier this year, researchers reported that a rift in Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf has accelerated and could soon cause a vast iceberg to fall into the sea. After the collapse of the ice shelf, the glaciers that once sustained it will run into the sea. More
A Conversation with Dr. James Fleming: Geoengineering and Atmospheric Science. March 9, 2017.
In the sixth episode of the Climate History Podcast, Dr. Dagomar Degroot interviews one of the world's best-known historians of science: Dr. James Fleming, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Colby College. Professor Fleming is perhaps the leading historian of meteorology and climatology. He has degrees in astronomy, atmospheric science, and history, and he is the founder and first president of the International Commission on History of Meteorology. More
"A Grande Seca": El Niño and Brazil’s First Rubber Boom. February 7, 2017.
People care about climate change when it affects them. That is why Pacific islanders fear rising sea levels more than the average American, and why many who live in coastal cities fear a projected increase in tropical cyclones more than those further inland. Yet the idea that an environmental change “over there” will not affect communities “here” makes little sense. More
Climate History Network Statement on U.S. Executive Order and Climate Policy. February 2, 2017.
The Climate History Network is an organization with more than 200 members in universities and governments around the world. As an international network dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, we are committed to the free flow of information and people. We celebrate the diversity of our members and recognize that all have an equal voice and deserve equal rights, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, physical abilities, sexual orientation, religion, or country of origin. We believe that these principles are essential not only to good scholarship, but also to a healthy democracy. More
A Conversation with Dr. Sam White: Trump, the Little Ice Age, and Mapping Climate History. January 31, 2017.
In the fifth episode of the Climate History Podcast, Dr. Dagomar Degroot interviews Dr. Sam White of Ohio State University, the co-founder and co-director of the Climate History Network. Professor White is a leading environmental historian of the Little Ice Age, a period of global cooling that lasted from the thirteenth through the nineteenth centuries. More
Teaching Climate Change by Combining the Humanities and Sciences. January 3, 2017.
Most students at Brown University know Professor Kathleen Hess from the two-semester challenge of organic chemistry. But in a class that debuted this fall, “Exploration of the Chemistry of Renewable Energy,” Dr. Hess blended the tools of her discipline with questions of human impacts on the climate, renewable energy technologies, and the social impact of how energy is generated and used. More
Volcanoes, Comet Crashes, and Changes in the Sun: How Cooling Transformed the World. December 3, 2016.
The world is warming, and it is warming fast. According to satellites and weather stations, Earth's average annual temperature will smash the instrumental record this year, likely by around 0.1° C. Last year, global temperatures broke the record by around the same amount. That may not seem impressive, but consider this: temperatures have climbed by about 0.1° C per decade since the 1980s. In just two years, therefore, our planet catapulted two decades into a hotter future. More
Towards a Messy History of Dearth and Climate in Carolingian Europe. November 14, 2016.
Will climate change trigger widespread food shortages and result in huge excess mortality in our future? Many historians have argued that it has before. Anomalous weather, abrupt climate change, and extreme dearth often work together in articles and books on early medieval demography, economy and environment. Few historians of early medieval Europe would now doubt that severe winters, droughts and other weather extremes led to harvest failures and, through those failures, food shortages and mortality events. More
A Conversation with Bruce Campbell. October 31, 2016.
Bruce Campbell is a highly respected historian of medieval economic history. In his long and distinguished career at Queen's University, Belfast, he has belonged to the Departments of Geography, Economic History, History, and the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology. Recently, he published a major new book: The Great Transition: Climate, Disease and Society in the Late-Medieval World. The book transforms how historians have understood the quintessential crisis of Western society - its apparent collapse in the fourteenth century - by rooting it in environmental forces. More
A Conversation with J. R. McNeill. September 30, 2016.
For the fourth episode of the Climate History Podcast, Dr. Dagomar Degroot interviews one of the world's leading environmental historians: Dr. John R. McNeill of Georgetown University. Professor McNeill has authored or co-authored six books, and edited or co-edited twelve. He is perhaps best known for Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World. More
This Cave Holds a Spectacular Record of 5,000 Years of Tsunamis. The Atlantic
Events in Iceland Explain Years of Famine in Europe’s Dark Ages. The Economist
Major Correction to Satellite Data Shows 140% Faster Warming Since 1998. Carbon Brief
Arks of the Apocalypse. New York Times
Masses of Beautiful Alabaster. Paris Review
A History of Global Warming, In Just 35 Seconds. Climate Central
Spring/Summer 2017. Disaster memories, climate and conflict, and controlling nature.
Winter 2017. Trump's election, medieval climate history, new awards and conferences.
Fall 2016. PAGES, the IPCC, and Frankenstein's monster.
Summer 2016. Volcanoes, droughts, and the Maunder Minimum.
Spring 2016. The Spanish Empire and global cooling, annual meeting at the ASEH conference.
Winter 2016. New financial support and the Old World Drought Atlas.
Archived Best of the Web
We are generously supported by:
Banner image credit: NASA, Benoit Lecavalier.