We live in a world that is increasingly vulnerable to climatic shocks - affecting agriculture and industry, government and international trade, not to mention human health and happiness. Serious anxieties have been aroused by respected scientists warning of dire perils that could result from upsets of the climatic regime. In this internationally acclaimed book, Emeritus Professor Hubert Lamb examines what we know about climate, how the past record of climate can be reconstructed, the causes of climatic variation, and its impact on human affairs now and in the historical and prehistoric past. This 2nd Edition includes a new preface and postscript reviewing the wealth of literature to emerge in recent years, and discusses implications for a deeper understanding of the problems of future climatic fluctuations and forecasting.
We live in a world that is increasingly vulnerable to climatic shocks - affecting agriculture and industry, government and international trade, not to mention human health and happiness. Serious anxieties have been aroused by respected scientists warning of dire perils that could result from upsets of the climatic regime. In this internationally acclaimed book, Emeritus Professor Hubert Lamb examines what we know about climate, how the past record of climate can be reconstructed, the causes of climatic variation, and its impact on human affairs now and in the historical and prehistoric past. This 2nd Edition includes a new preface and postscript reviewing the wealth of literature to emerge in recent years, and discusses implications for a deeper understanding of the problems of future climatic fluctuations and forecasting.
We live in a world that is increasingly vulnerable to climatic shocks - affecting agriculture and industry, government and international trade, not to mention human health and happiness. Serious anxieties have been aroused by respected scientists warning of dire perils that could result from upsets of the climatic regime. In this internationally acclaimed book, Emeritus Professor Hubert Lamb examines what we know about climate, how the past record of climate can be reconstructed, the causes of climatic variation, and its impact on human affairs now and in the historical and prehistoric past. This 2nd Edition includes a new preface and postscript reviewing the wealth of literature to emerge in recent years, and discusses implications for a deeper understanding of the problems of future climatic fluctuations and forecasting.
This handbook offers the first comprehensive, state-of-the-field guide to past weather and climate and their role in human societies. Bringing together dozens of international specialists from the sciences and humanities, this volume describes the methods, sources, and major findings of historical climate reconstruction and impact research. Its chapters take the reader through each key source of past climate and weather information and each technique of analysis; through each historical period and region of the world; through the major topics of climate and history and core case studies; and finally through the history of climate ideas and science. Using clear, non-technical language, The Palgrave Handbook of Climate History serves as a textbook for students, a reference guide for specialists and an introduction to climate history for scholars and interested readers.
Explores the latest historical research on the development of the earth's climate, showing how even minor changes in the climate could result in major social, political, and religious upheavals.
Throughout the early modern period, scientific debate and governmental action became increasingly preoccupied with the environment, generating discussion across Europe and the wider world as to how to improve land and climate for human benefit. This discourse eventually promoted the reconsideration of long-held beliefs about the role of climate in upholding the social order, driving economies and affecting public health. Governing the Environment in the Early Modern World explores the relationship between cultural perceptions of the environment and practical attempts at environmental regulation and change between 1500 and 1800. Taking a cultural and intellectual approach to early modern environmental governance, this edited collection combines an interpretative perspective with new insights into a period largely unfamiliar to environmental historians. Using a rich and multifaceted narrative, this book offers an understanding as to how efforts to enhance productive aspects of the environment were both led by and contributed to new conceptualisations of the role of ‘nature’ in human society. This book offers a cultural and intellectual approach to early modern environmental history and will be of special interest to environmental, cultural and intellectual historians, as well as anyone with an interest in the culture and politics of environmental governance.
How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficient production processes and the highest practical rates of recycling may not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that would be high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generated by continuing population growth and rising standards of living. This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potential for substantial dematerialization of modern economies. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization considers the principal materials used throughout history, from wood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon, describing their extraction and production.
Climate Change and the Course of Global History presents the first global study by a historian to fully integrate the earth-system approach of the new climate science with the material history of humanity. Part I argues that geological, environmental, and climatic history explain the pattern and pace of biological and human evolution. Part II explores the environmental circumstances of the rise of agriculture and the state in the Early and Mid-Holocene, and presents an analysis of human health from the Paleolithic through the rise of the state, including the Neolithic Demographic Transition. Part III introduces the problem of economic growth and examines the human condition in the Late Holocene from the Bronze Age through the Black Death, assessing the relationships among human technologies, climatic change, and epidemic disease. Part IV explores the move to modernity, stressing the emerging role of human economic and energy systems as earth-system agents in the Anthropocene. Supported by climatic, demographic, and economic data with forty-nine figures and tables custom-made for this book, A Rough Journey provides a pathbreaking model for historians of the environment, the world, and science, among many others.
This long-awaited successor to Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Prize provides an essential, overarching narrative of global energy, the principal engine of geopolitical and economic change A master storyteller as well as a leading energy expert, Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize–winning book, The Prize. In The Quest, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change and conflict, in a story that spans the energies on which our civilization has been built and the new energies that are competing to replace them. The Quest tells the inside stories, tackles the tough questions, and reveals surprising insights about coal, electricity, and natural gas. He explains how climate change became a great issue and leads readers through the rebirth of renewable energies, energy independence, and the return of the electric car. Epic in scope and never more timely, The Quest vividly reveals the decisions, technologies, and individuals that are shaping our future.
An accessible synthesis of the prescient best seller exploring seventeenth-century catastrophe and the impact of climate change First published in 2013, Geoffrey Parker’s prize-winning best seller Global Crisis analyzes the unprecedented calamities—revolutions, droughts, famines, invasions, wars, and regicides—that befell the mid-seventeenth-century world and wiped out as much as one-third of the global population, and reveals climate change to be the root cause. Examining firsthand accounts of the crises and scrutinizing the prevailing weather patterns during the 1640s and 1650s—longer and harsher winters, and cooler and wetter summers—Parker reveals evidence of disrupted growing seasons causing malnutrition, disease, a higher death toll, and fewer births. This new abridged edition distills the original book’s prodigious research for a broader audience while retaining and indeed emphasizing Parker’s extraordinary historical achievement: his dazzling demonstration of the link between climate change and worldwide catastrophe 350 years ago. Yet, the contemporary implications of his study are equally important: are we prepared today for the catastrophes that climate change could bring tomorrow? At half the original length, this user-friendly abridgment is ideal for students and general readers seeking a rapid handle on the key issues.
Weaving together stories from elite science, cutting-edge technology, and popular culture, Fleming examines issues of health and navigation in the 1830s, drought in the 1890s, aircraft safety in the 1930s, and world conflict since the 1940s.
With its soaring azure sky and stark landscapes, the American Southwest is one of the most hauntingly beautiful regions on earth. Yet staggering population growth, combined with the intensifying effects of climate change, is driving the oasis-based society close to the brink of a Dust-Bowl-scale catastrophe. In A Great Aridness, William deBuys paints a compelling picture of what the Southwest might look like when the heat turns up and the water runs out. This semi-arid land, vulnerable to water shortages, rising temperatures, wildfires, and a host of other environmental challenges, is poised to bear the heaviest consequences of global environmental change in the United States. Examining interrelated factors such as vanishing wildlife, forest die backs, and the over-allocation of the already stressed Colorado River--upon which nearly 30 million people depend--the author narrates the landscape's history--and future. He tells the inspiring stories of the climatologists and others who are helping untangle the complex, interlocking causes and effects of global warming. And while the fate of this region may seem at first blush to be of merely local interest, what happens in the Southwest, deBuys suggests, will provide a glimpse of what other mid-latitude arid lands worldwide--the Mediterranean Basin, southern Africa, and the Middle East--will experience in the coming years. Written with an elegance that recalls the prose of John McPhee and Wallace Stegner, A Great Aridness offers an unflinching look at the dramatic effects of climate change occurring right now in our own backyard.
Climate Change and Human History provides an up-to-date and concise introduction to the relationship between human beings and climate change throughout history. Starting with periods hundreds of thousands of years ago and continuing up to the present day, the book illustrates how natural climate variability affected early human societies, and how humans are now altering climate drastically within much shorter periods of time. For each major period of time, the book will explain how climate change has created opportunities as well as risks and challenges for human societies. The book will introduce and develop several related themes including: Phases of climate and history Factors that shape climate Climate shocks and sharp climate shifts Climate and the rise and fall of civilizations Industrialization and climate science Accelerating climate change, human societies, and the future An ideal companion for all students of environmental history, Climate Change and Human History clearly demonstrates the critical role of climate in shaping human history and of the experience of humans in both adapting to and shaping climate change.
How the latest cutting-edge science offers a fuller picture of life in Rome and antiquity This groundbreaking book provides the first comprehensive look at how the latest advances in the sciences are transforming our understanding of ancient Roman history. Walter Scheidel brings together leading historians, anthropologists, and geneticists at the cutting edge of their fields, who explore novel types of evidence that enable us to reconstruct the realities of life in the Roman world. Contributors discuss climate change and its impact on Roman history, and then cover botanical and animal remains, which cast new light on agricultural and dietary practices. They exploit the rich record of human skeletal material--both bones and teeth—which forms a bio-archive that has preserved vital information about health, nutritional status, diet, disease, working conditions, and migration. Complementing this discussion is an in-depth analysis of trends in human body height, a marker of general well-being. This book also assesses the contribution of genetics to our understanding of the past, demonstrating how ancient DNA is used to track infectious diseases, migration, and the spread of livestock and crops, while the DNA of modern populations helps us reconstruct ancient migrations, especially colonization. Opening a path toward a genuine biohistory of Rome and the wider ancient world, The Science of RomanHistory offers an accessible introduction to the scientific methods being used in this exciting new area of research, as well as an up-to-date survey of recent findings and a tantalizing glimpse of what the future holds.
"One of the best books yet published on climate change . . . The best compact history of the science of global warming I have read."—Bill McKibben, The New York Review of Books The world's premier climatologist, Lonnie Thompson has been risking his career and life on the highest and most remote ice caps along the equator, in search of clues to the history of climate change. His most innovative work has taken place on these mountain glaciers, where he collects ice cores that provide detailed information about climate history, reaching back 750,000 years. To gather significant data Thompson has spent more time in the death zone—the environment above eighteen thousand feet—than any man who has ever lived. Scientist and expert climber Mark Bowen joined Thompson's crew on several expeditions; his exciting and brilliantly detailed narrative takes the reader deep inside retreating glaciers from China, across South America, and to Africa to unravel the mysteries of climate. Most important, we learn what Thompson's hard-won data reveals about global warming, the past, and the earth's probable future.
Major account of the fourteenth-century crisis which saw a series of famines, revolts and epidemics transform the medieval world.
This survey of ancient levels of lakes, rivers and sea, and changes in stalagmites and sediments shows an astonishing correlation between climate change and rise and fall of civilizations in the Middle East. Warm periods were characterized by aridization, economic crisis and mass migration. Cold periods brought abundant rain, prosperity and settlement. The authors conclude that climate change was the decisive factor in the origins of the "cradle of civilization".
A sweeping new history of how climate change and disease helped bring down the Roman Empire Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power—a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition. Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes readers from Rome’s pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a “little ice age” and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague. A poignant reflection on humanity’s intimate relationship with the environment, The Fate of Rome provides a sweeping account of how one of history’s greatest civilizations encountered and endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature’s violence. The example of Rome is a timely reminder that climate change and germ evolution have shaped the world we inhabit—in ways that are surprising and profound.
The field of environmental history emerged just decades ago but has established itself as one of the most innovative and important new approaches to history, one that bridges the human and natural world, the humanities and the sciences. With the current trend towards internationalizing history, environmental history is perhaps the quintessential approach to studying subjects outside the nation-state model, with pollution, global warming, and other issues affecting the earth not stopping at national borders. With 25 essays, this Handbook is global in scope and innovative in organization, looking at the field thematically through such categories as climate, disease, oceans, the body, energy, consumerism, and international relations.
History and Climate Change is a balanced and comprehensive overview of the links between climate and man's advance from early to modern times. It draws upon demographic, economic, urban, religious and military perspectives. It is a synthesis of the many historical and scientific theories, which have arisen regarding man's progress through the ages. Central to the book is the question of whether climate variation is a fundamental trigger mechanism from which other historical sequences develop, or one amongst a number of other factors, decisive only when a regime/society is poised for change. Evidence for prolonged climate change is not that extensive. But it is clear that climatic variation has regularly played a part in historical development. Paricular attention is here paid to Europe since AD 211. Cold and warmth, wetness and aridity can create contrary reactions within societies, which can be interpreted in vary different ways by scholars from differenct disciplines. Does climate change exacerbate famine and epidemics? Did climate fluctuation play a part in pivotal historical events such as the mass exodus of Hsuing-nu from China, the pressure of the Huns on the Romans and the genesis of the Crusades? Did the bitter Finnish winter of 1939-40 ensure the ultimate defeat of Hitler? These episodes, and many others are discussed throughout the book in the authors distinctive style, with maps and photographs to illustrate the examples given.

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