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Earth Sciences & Geography - Atmospheric Sciences | Climatic Variability in Sixteenth-Century Europe and Its Social Dimension

Climatic Variability in Sixteenth-Century Europe and Its Social Dimension

Pfister, Christian, Brázdil, Rudolf, Glaser, Rüdiger (Eds.)

1999, VI, 354 p.

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  • About this book

A multidecadal cooling is known to have occurred in Europe in the final decades of the sixteenth-century. It is still open to debate as to what might have caused the underlying shifts in atmospheric circulation and how these changes affected societies. This book is the fruit of interdisciplinary cooperation among 37 scientists including climatologists, hydrologists, glaciologists, dendroclimatologists, and economic and cultural historians. The known documentary climatic evidence from six European countries is compared to results of tree-ring studies. Seasonal temperature and precipitation are estimated from this data and monthly mean surface pressure patterns in the European area are reconstructed for outstanding anomalies. Results are compared to fluctuations of Alpine glaciers and to changes in the frequency of severe floods and coastal storms. Moreover, the impact of climate change on grain prices and wine production is assessed. Finally, it is convincingly argued that witches at that time were burnt as scapegoats for climatic change.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Atmospheric circulation - ITC - Precipitation - Storm - Storm surge - Tide - Weather - climate change - temperature

Related subjects » Atmospheric Sciences - Global Change - Climate Change - History of Economic Thought - Hydrogeology

Table of contents 

Guest Editorial.- 1..- Climatic Variability in Sixteenth-Century Europe and its Social Dimension: A Synthesis.- 2. The Evidence.- Documentary Evidence on Climate in Sixteenth-Century Europe.- Daily Weather Observations in Sixteenth-Century Europe.- European Tree Rings and Climate in the 16th Century.- 3. Reconstructions of Climate.- Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Fluctuations in Selected Parts of Europe during the Sixteenth Century.- European Surface Pressure Patterns for Months with Outstanding Climatic Anomalies during the Sixteenth Century.- 4. Impacts and Perception.- Glacier Fluctuations in the Western Swiss and French Alps in the 16th Century.- Flood Events of Selected European Rivers in the Sixteenth Century.- A Method to Assess the Impact of High Tides, Storms and Storm Surges as Vital Elements in Climatic History. The Case of Stormy Weather and Dikes in the Northern Part of Flanders, 1488 to 1609.- The Influence of Climatic Change on Price Fluctuations in Germany during the 16th Century Price Revolution.- The Crisis of Wine Production in Late Sixteenth-Century Central Europe: Climatic Causes and Economic Consequences.- Climatic Change and Witch-Hunting: The Impact of the Little Ice Age on Mentalities.

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