A network of interdisciplinary scholars studying past climate change
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History has dedicated its latest issue to the Little Ice Age. The JIH, which featured a seminal discussion of climate in history three decades ago, now features a forum with four new articles on the topic: The first, by economic historians Kelly and Ó Grada, questions whether there was a Little Ice Age at all, arguing that certain documentary series in Europe do not show clear breaks or cycles in temperature, and that many common images of the LIA are not proof of significant cooling. The second, by Sam White, points to serious shortcomings in Kelly and Ó Grada’s arguments, and outlines the case for the LIA based on proxy data and phenology. It emphasizes that even though the periodization of the LIA is problematic, the phenomenon remains real and consequential. Another review of Kelly and Ó Grada, by Büntgen and Hellman, provides further discussion of the now extensive proxy evidence for early modern global cooling on each continent. The final piece in the forum is Jan de Vries’s review article of Geoffrey Parker’s recent book Global Crisis (Yale UP: 2013). De Vries praises the work for its wide-ranging and lively narrative but questions whether Parker has answered difficult questions of economic history and the “great divergence.”
The editors’ summary is available online here.
Morgan Kelly and Cormac Ó Gráda, “The Waning of the Little Ice Age: Climate Change in Early Modern Europe,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013): 301–25, doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00573.
Sam White, “The Real Little Ice Age,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013): 327–52, doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00574.
Ulf Büntgen and Lena Hellmann, “The Little Ice Age in Scientific Perspective: Cold Spells and Caveats,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013): 353–68, doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00575.
Jan de Vries, “The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century: The Little Ice Age and the Mystery of the ‘Great Divergence,’” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013): 369–77, doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00576.