What is this website?
A new perspective on global warming
At present many of the same scientists who model the course of global warming also project its influence on future societies to policy makers, business leaders, media outlets and the broader public. The dual role played by these scientists jeopardizes the accuracy of their predictions, because it is scholars in other disciplines - especially environmental history - who have the training, the applicable methodologies to address the complexities of the relationship between humanity and environment. My name is Dagomar Degroot. As a historical climatologist - an environmental historian who researches human adaptations to past climates - I developed this website to lend the insights of historical climatology to today's debates about global warming, hopefully casting a new light on humanity's future on a warmer planet. To that end, in pages devoted to news and resources this site reconceptualizes new and provocative research in global warming.
A resource for historical climatologists, and anyone interested in climate's history
This site is about much more than lending a new perspective to our current understanding about global warming, however. I share a selection of my work, including descriptions of ongoing major projects, while recording my discoveries and ideas in an extensive blog that has been featured on Active History and the Climate History Network. The site also houses the internet's first significant bibliography of books and articles relevant to historical climatology, and introduces important databases for historical climatological research. Ultimately I aim present my work - and the broader discipline of historical climatology - as an accessible, relevant resource enabling the development of a more accurate conception of human history and a deeper understanding of today's climatic crisis.
It's about three big relationships, between:
Today global temperatures are soaring through human influence, but the world's climate has never stopped changing. In recent decades researchers from a range of disciplines have uncovered sources, from tree rings to ship logbooks, that help reconstruct the volatile history of Earth's climate. This site examines and contributes to that endeavor.
Climate is just one manifestation of an environment that changes us even as we change it. Environmental history is a relatively new field that examines this "co-evolution," situating our human narrative in the much broader context of inherently unstable natural surroundings. This relationship is discussed and re-examined on this site.
Over the past two centuries "modern" societies have increasingly influenced their environments, but while many of these interactions are new in scale most have long histories in a range of different civilizations. As a historical climatologist, I study the social influence of the Little Ice Age, considering how early modern interactions between the Dutch Republic's human history and contemporary climatic shifts can speak to our common future. This site documents my thoughts and discoveries.