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Dr. Francis Ludlow
Assistant Professor, History

Biography

Francis Ludlow is Assistant Professor of Medieval Environmental History, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), and co-founder of the Irish Environmental History Network (in 2009) and Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities (in 2017). He is currently Principal Investigator of the IRC Laureate Award-funded project "Climates of Conflict in Ancient Babylonia" (2018-2022) and Co-PI of the U.S. National Science Foundation-funded project "Volcanism, Hydrology and Social Conflict: Lessons from Egypt & Mesopotamia" (2018-2022). He is Project Partner of the IRC COALESCE-funded project "Irish Droughts: Environmental and Cultural Memories of a Neglected Hazard" (2019-2021), and the Swiss National Science Foundation-funded project "Effects of Large Volcanic Eruptions on Climate and Societies" (2019-2023). He serves on the "Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society" working group Steering Committee (2015-Present), and as a "Key Participant" (2018-Present) of the "Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies" working group (both PAGES-funded). He also serves (2019-Present) on the Editorial Advisory Board of a new monograph series on Pre-Modern environmental history, produced by Oxford University Press in association with the Princeton Climate Change and History Research Initiative.

From 2016-2018, he was Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow in TCD, leading the "Historical Dynamics of Violence, Conflict and Extreme Weather in Medieval Ireland" project, with Poul Holm. From 2013-2016, he was Yale Climate & Energy Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, working with Ben Kiernan (History) and Michael R. Dove (Forestry & Environmental Studies), on a project entitled "Climate as Catalyst in 1,224 Years of Violence and Conflict in Ireland, AD425-1649". From 2014 to 2015, he was Visiting Scholar with the Yale MacMillan Center Genocide Studies Program. He also held a Carson Fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (LMU Munich) from 2013 to 2014. From 2011 to 2013 he was a Ziff Environmental Fellow (Harvard University Center for the Environment), working with Michael McCormick (History) and the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past (SoHP) at Harvard, on a project entitled "Unifying High-Resolution Records of Environmental and Societal Stresses for Ireland, AD425-1650", combining Irish annals, tree-ring and ice-core records. From 2012 to 2013 he was a Research Affiliate of the Harvard University Center for Geographic Analysis.

From 2009 to 2011 Francis was Research Fellow, and from 2011 to 2016 was Research Associate, with the Trinity Long Room Hub. From 2007 to 2011 he lectured in Geography, TCD. He has also lectured and contributed to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Dublin City University, Maynooth University, St. Patrick's College (Drumcondra), Yale University, Harvard University and Princeton University. From 2009 to 2011 he was Treasurer of the Irish Quaternary Association, and from 2015 to 2019 was part of the Scientific Programme Committee and Local Organizing Committee that brought the 20th International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Congress to Dublin in 2019. In 2006 and again 2010-2011 he was a Visiting Scholar in the Dendrochronology Lab, Queen's University Belfast, working with Mike Baillie and David Brown on comparing historic weather extremes and the Irish oak tree-ring record. He has also worked in University College Cork (2008-2009) with Paul Leahy and Ger Kiely on the EPA-funded "Extreme Weather, Climate and Natural Disasters in Ireland" project. Francis obtained a B.A. in Geography & Economics from TCD in 2003, a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics from TCD in 2005, and a PhD in Geography from TCD in 2011. His PhD thesis is entitled "The Utility of the Irish Annals as a Source for the Reconstruction of Climate".

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

The Gaelic Annals and Climate, 431 - 1649 CE in, editor(s)Malcom Sen , Cambridge History of Irish Literature and the Environment , Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021, pp19 , [Conor Kostick & Francis Ludlow] Book Chapter, 2021

Volcanic Eruptions, Veiled Suns, and Nile Failure in Egyptian History: Integrating Hydroclimate into Understandings of Historical Change in, editor(s)Erdkamp, P., Verboevn K. and Manning, J. G. , Climate and Society in Ancient Worlds: Diversity in Collapse and Resilience, Palgrave, 2021, [F. Ludlow, J. G. Manning] Book Chapter, 2021

McConnell, J. R., Sigl, M., Plunkett, G., Burke, A., Kim, W. M., Raible, C. C., Wilson, A. I., Manning, J. G., Ludlow, F., Chellman, N. J., Innes, H. M., Yang, Z., Larsen1, J. F., Schaefer, J. R., Kipfstuhl, S., Mojtabavi1, S., Wilhelms, F., Opel, T., Meyer, H. and Steffensen, J. P., Extreme Climate after Massive Eruption of Alaska's Okmok Volcano in 43 BCE and Effects on the Late Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117, (27), 2020, p15443 - 15449 Journal Article, 2020 DOI URL

Ludlow, F., McGovern, R., Five Centuries of Human Observation Reveal Europe's Flood History, Nature, 583, 2020, p522 - 524 Journal Article, 2020 URL DOI

Climate of the Past, (2020), Toohey, M., Anchukaitis, K., LeGrande, A. N., LUDLOW, F., Sigl, M., Vidal, C. and Luterbacher, J., [Special Issue Editors], 2019-2021 Journal, 2020 URL

McConnell, J. R., Sigl, M., Plunkett, G., Wilson, A. I., Manning, J. G., LUDLOW, F. and Chellman, N. J., Reply to Strunz and Braeckel: Agricultural Failures Logically Link Historical Events to Extreme Climate After the 43 BCE Okmok Eruption, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 URL DOI

Mapping the Irish Rath (Ringfort): Landscape Settlement Patterns in the Early Medieval Period in, editor(s)Charles Travis, Francis Ludlow, Ferenc Gyuris , Historical Geography, GIScience and Textual Analysis: Landscapes of Time and Place, New York, Springer International Publising, 2020, [Robert Legg, Francis Ludlow, Charles Travis] Book Chapter, 2020 DOI

Haldon, J., Chase, A. F., Eastwood, W., Medina-Elizalde, M., Izdebski, A., Ludlow, F., Middleton, G., Mordechai, L., Nesbitt, J., and Turner II, B. L., Demystifying Collapse: Climate, Environment, and Social Agency in Pre-Modern Societies, Millennium, 17, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

O'Connor, S., Murphy, C., Butler, J., Crampsie, A., Ludlow, F., Horvath, C., Jobbova, E., A Weather Diary from Donegal, Ireland, 1846-1875, Weather, 2020, p7 Journal Article, 2020 DOI URL

Guillet, S., Corona, C., Ludlow, F., Oppenheimer, C., Stoffel, M., Climatic and Societal Impacts of a "Forgotten" Cluster of Volcanic Eruptions in 1108-1110 CE, Scientific Reports, 10, 2020, p1-10 Journal Article, 2020 TARA - Full Text URL DOI

B.M.S. Campbell, F. Ludlow, Climate, disease and society in late-medieval Ireland, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 120C, 2020 Journal Article, 2020

Charles Travis, Francis Ludlow, Ferenc Gyuris, Historical Geography, GIScience and Textual Analysis: Landscapes of Time and Place, New York, Springer International Publising, 2020, 1 - 272pp Book, 2020 DOI URL

Murphy, C., Wilby, R. L., Matthews, R., Horvath, C., Crampsie, A., Ludlow, F., Noone, S., Brannigan, J., Hannaford, MacLeman, R., Jobbova, E., The Forgotten Drought of 1765-1768: Reconstructing and Re-evaluating Historical Droughts in the British and Irish Isles, International Journal of Climatology, 40, (12), 2020, p5329 - 5351 Journal Article, 2020 TARA - Full Text DOI URL

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, (2020), Riede, F., Vidal, C., LUDLOW, F., [Special Issue Editors], 2019-2021 Journal, 2020 URL

Travis, Charles; Ludlow, Francis; Matthews, Al; Lougheed, Kevin; Rankin, Kieran; Allaire, Bernard; Legg, Robert; Hayes, Patrick; Nicholls, John; Towns, Lydia; Holm, Poul, Inventing the Grand Banks: A Deep Chart. Humanities GIS, Cartesian, and Literary Perceptions of the North-West Atlantic Fishery ca 1500-1800, Geo: Geography and Environment, 7, (1), 2020, pe00085 Journal Article, 2020 DOI TARA - Full Text

STEAM Approaches to Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Social-Political Conflict in, editor(s)Armida de la Garza Charles Travis , The STEAM Revolution: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Humanities and Mathematics, New York, Springer, 2019, pp33 - 65, [Francis Ludlow, Charles Travis] Book Chapter, 2019 DOI URL

Climate, Debt and Conflict: Environmental History as a New Direction in Understanding Early Modern Ireland in, editor(s)Sarah Covington, Vincent Carey, Valerie McGowan-Doyle , Early Modern Ireland: New Sources, Methods, and Directions, London, Routledge, 2019, pp200-230 , [Francis Ludlow, Arlene Crampsie] Book Chapter, 2019 URL

Medieval History, Explosive Volcanism,and the Geoengineering Debate in, editor(s)Chris Jones, Conor Kostick & Klaus Oschema , Making the Medieval Relevant: How Medieval Studies Contribute to Improving Our Understanding of the Present, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2019, pp45 - 97, [Conor Kostick & Francis Ludlow] Book Chapter, 2019 DOI URL

Poul Holm; Francis Ludlow Cordula Scherer Charles Travis Bernard Allaire Cristina Brito Patrick W. Hayes Al Matthews Kieran J. Rankin Richard J. Breen Robert Legg Kevin Lougheed John Nicholls, The North Atlantic Fish Revolution, c. AD 1500, Quaternary Research, 2019, p1-15 Journal Article, 2019 DOI URL TARA - Full Text

Agrarian Change and Agricultural Development in, editor(s)Hilary Callan , The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2018, [Samara Brock, Alder S. Keleman, Francis Ludlow, Amy Johnson, Michael R. Dove] Book Chapter, 2018 DOI URL

Environmental History of Ireland, 1550-1730 in, editor(s)Jane Ohlmeyer , Cambridge History of Ireland: Volume 2, Early Modern Ireland, 1550-1730, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018, pp608 - 637, [Francis Ludlow, Arlene Crampsie] Book Chapter, 2018 DOI URL

Indigenous Agriculture and the Politics of Knowledge in, editor(s)P. Sillitoe , Indigenous Knowledge: Enhancing its Contribution to Natural Resources Management, Cambridge & Wallingford, CABI Publishing, 2017, pp203 - 217, [Alder Keleman, Samara Brock, Luisa Cortesi, Chris Hebdon, Amy Johnson, Francis Ludlow, Michael R. Dove] Book Chapter, 2017 URL

Lauren Baker, Samara Brock, Luisa Cortesi, Aysen Eren, Chris Hebdon, Francis Ludlow, Jeffrey Stoike, Michael R. Dove, Mainstreaming Morality: An Examination of Moral Ecologies as a Form of Resistance, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, 11, (1), 2017, p23 - 55 Journal Article, 2017 URL DOI

Joseph G. Manning, Francis Ludlow, Alexander R. Stine, William Boos, Michael Sigl, Jennifer Marlon, Volcanic Suppression of Nile Summer Flooding Triggers Revolt and Constrains Interstate Conflict in Ancient Egypt, Nature Communications, 8, 2017, pArticle Number: 900 Journal Article, 2017 URL DOI TARA - Full Text

Ludlow, F., Volcanology: Chronicling a Medieval Eruption, Nature Geoscience, 10, (2), 2017, p77 - 78 Journal Article, 2017 URL DOI

Gao, C., Ludlow, F., Amir, O. and Kostick, C., Reconciling Multiple Ice-Core Volcanic Histories: The Potential of Tree-Ring and Documentary Evidence, 670-730 CE, Quaternary International, 394, 2016, p180 - 193 Journal Article, 2016 URL DOI

Ludlow, F., Baker, L., Brock, S., Hebdon, C. and Dove, M. R. , The Double Binds of Indigeneity and Indigenous Resistance, Humanities, 5, (3), 2016 Journal Article, 2016 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Pedagogy and Climate Change in, editor(s)Susan A. Crate, Mark Nuttall , Anthropology and Climate Change: From Actions to Transformations, London, Routledge, 2016, pp388 - 398, [Chris Hebdon, Myles Lennon, Francis Ludlow, Amy Zhang, Michael R. Dove] Book Chapter, 2016 URL

Revolts under the Ptolemies: A Paleoclimatic Perspective in, editor(s)John J. Collins, Joseph G. Manning , Revolt and Resistance in the Ancient Classical World and the Near East: The Crucible of Empire, Leiden, Brill, 2016, pp154 - 171, [Francis Ludlow, Joseph G. Manning] Book Chapter, 2016 URL

Natural and Human Landscapes of Meath: A Photographic Essay in, editor(s)Arlene Crampsie, Francis Ludlow , Meath History & Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, Dublin, Geography Publications, 2015, pp481 - 522, [Brianan Ludlow, Francis Ludlow] Book Chapter, 2015 URL

Arlene Crampsie, Francis Ludlow, Meath History & Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, 1st, Dublin, Geography Publications, 2015, 1 - 999pp Book, 2015 URL

Michael Sigl, Joseph R. McConnell, Matthew Toohey, Gill Plunkett, Francis Ludlow, M. Winstrup, S. Kipfstuhl, Y. Motizuki, The History of Volcanic Eruptions since Roman Times, Past Global Changes Magazine, 25, (2), 2015, p48 - 49 Journal Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text URL DOI

Sigl, M., Winstrup, M., McConnell, J.R., Welten, K.C., Plunkett, G., Ludlow, F., Büntgen, U., Caffee, M., Chellman, N., Dahl-Jensen, D., Fischer, H., Kipfstuhl, S., Kostick, C., Maselli, O.J., Mekhaldi, F., Mulvaney, R., Muscheler, R., Pasteri, D.R., Pilcher, J.R., Salzer, M., Schüpbach, S., Steffensen, J.P., Vinther, B., Woodruff, T.E. , Timing and Climate Forcing of Volcanic Eruptions during the Past 2,500 Years, Nature, 523, 2015, p543 - 549 Journal Article, 2015 URL DOI

Conor Kostick, Francis Ludlow, The Dating of Volcanic Events and their Impacts upon European Climate and Society, 400-800 CE, European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies, 5, 2015, p7 - 30 Journal Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text URL URL

Naming the Land: Mapping the Meath Field Names Project in, editor(s)Arlene Crampsie, Francis Ludlow , Meath History & Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, Dublin, Geography Publications, 2015, pp481 - 522, [Joan Mullen, Francis Ludlow] Book Chapter, 2015 URL

Adelman, J., Ludlow, F., The Past, Present and Future of Irish Environmental History, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 114C, (7), 2014, p359 - 391 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Usoskin, I. G., Kromer, B., Ludlow, F., Beer, J., Friedrich, M., Kovaltsov, G. A., Solanki, S. K. and Wacker, L. , The AD775 Cosmic Event Revisited: The Sun is to Blame, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 553, 2013 Journal Article, 2013 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Francis Ludlow, Alexander R Stine, Paul Leahy, Enda Murphy, Paul A Mayewski, David Taylor, James Killen, Michael G L Baillie, Mark Hennessy and Gerard Kiely, Medieval Irish chronicles reveal persistent volcanic forcing of severe winter cold events, 431 - 1649 CE, Environmental Research Letters, 8, 2013, p024035 Journal Article, 2013 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Francis Ludlow, Juliana Adelman & Poul Holm, Environmental History in Ireland , Environment and History, (19), 2013, p247-252- Journal Article, 2013 URL TARA - Full Text DOI

Assessing Non-Climatic Influences on the Record of Extreme Weather Events in the Irish Annals in, editor(s)Patrick J. Duffy William Nolan , At the Anvil: Essays in Honour of William J. Smyth., Dublin, Geography Publications, 2012, pp93 - 133, [Francis Ludlow] Book Chapter, 2012 URL

Gerard Kiely, Paul Leahy, Francis Ludlow, Bettina Stefanini, Eileen Reilly, Michael Monk, Jason Harris, Extreme Weather, Climate and Natural Disasters in Ireland, Synthesis Report, Climate Change Research Programme (CCRP) 2007-2013., 5, Johnstown Castle, Wexford, Environmental Protection Agency, 2010, p1 - 34 Report, 2010 TARA - Full Text URL

"Doing it in Style": The Narrative Rules of Time Travel in the Back to the Future Trilogy in, editor(s)Sorcha Ni Fhlainn , The Worlds of Back to the Future: Critical Essays on the Films, London, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2010, pp232 - 254, [Jennifer Harwood-Smith, Francis Ludlow] Book Chapter, 2010 URL URL

Francis Ludlow, Three Hundred Years of Weather Extremes from the Annals of Connacht, Journal of Postgraduate Research [Now: Trinity Postgraduate Review], 5, 2006, p46 - 65 Journal Article, 2006 TARA - Full Text URL

Francis Ludlow, Interpretation of Celestial and Environmental Phenomena in the Irish Annals, Atlas: Journal of the Dublin University Geographical Society, 10, 2005, p48 - 60 Journal Article, 2005 TARA - Full Text

Francis Ludlow, A Surprisingly Useful Source of Information about Ireland's Past Climate - the Irish Annals", Geographical Viewpoint, 33, 2005, p26 - 33 Journal Article, 2005

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Celine Vidal, Matthew Toohey, Michael Sigl, Kevin Anchukaitis, Francis Ludlow, Allegra N. LeGrande, Understanding Volcanic Impacts through Time: 4th VICS Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 13-16 April 2019, Past Global Changes Magazine, 27, (2), 2019, p81 - 81 Journal Article, 2019 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Eva Jobbová, Arlene Crampsie, Conor Murphy, Francis Ludlow, Robert McLeman, Csaba Horvath, Drought: Ireland's Forgotten Hazard?, HistoricalClimatology.com, 2019 Journal Article, 2019 URL

Ida Milne, Conor Dodd, Georgina Laragy, Francis Ludlow, 'Pandemic: Ireland and the Great Flu 1918-1919', Dublin, Glasnevin Trust and Trinity College Dublin, 2018, - Exhibition, 2018 URL URL

Matthew Toohey, Francis Ludlow, Allegra LeGrande, How did Climate and Humans Respond to Past Volcanic Eruptions?, Eos: Earth & Space Science News, 97, 2016 Journal Article, 2016 URL DOI

Matthew Toohey, Francis Ludlow, Allegra LeGrande, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Michael Sigl, Interdisciplinary Views on the Impacts of Volcanic Eruptions: From Global to Personal, Past Global Changes Magazine, 24, (2), 2016, p78 Journal Article, 2016 URL TARA - Full Text DOI

Matthew Toohey, Michael Sigl, Francis Ludlow, Allegra N. LeGrande, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society Working Group, Past Global Changes Magazine, 24, (1), 2016, p29 Journal Article, 2016 DOI URL TARA - Full Text

Francis Ludlow, Workshop Examines Climate Change and Human Response in the History of Western Eurasia from AD 1 to 1600, Harvard University Center for the Environment Newsletter, 5, (1), 2013, p29 - 29 Journal Article, 2013 TARA - Full Text URL

Francis Ludlow, The Irish Environmental History Network: Its Role and Development after 18 Months, Irish Meteorological Society Newsletter, 4, 2011, p40 - 41 Journal Article, 2011

Francis Ludlow, Tree Ring Chronology of Meteorological Extremes for Ireland, AD425-1650, Irish Meteorological Society Newsletter, 5, 2011, p54 - 59 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

Francis Ludlow, Establishment of the Irish Environmental History Network, October 2009, Irish Quaternary Association Newsletter, 44, 2010, p7 - 8 Journal Article, 2010

Francis Ludlow, David Dickson, Poul Holm, Audit of Research Activity in Irish Environmental History, Dublin, Trinity Long Room Hub, 2010 Report, 2010 URL

Francis Ludlow, The Irish Environmental History Network: Establishment, Potential and Aims, Geonews: Newsletter of the Geographical Society of Ireland, 33, 2010, p13 - 15 Journal Article, 2010

Research Expertise

Description

My main research interests lie in climate history, a discipline at the intersection of environmental history and climatology. It is a young field but has grown in prominence with concerns over the pace of current and projected climate change, as well as the extent to which societies might adapt (or fail to adapt) to these changes. Climate history offers important insights here, with its major foci being (1) the reconstruction of past climatic conditions using the evidence of historical archives (an approach also often defined as historical climatology), and (2) the impacts of past climatic changes on societies. In my experience, most climate historians focus on one strand, but my broad background in geography, economics and statistics (TCD) and history (Harvard, Yale, Munich) has positioned me well to contribute to both. My interest is frequently to act as a bridge between scholars in the natural and human sciences, communicating (and "translating") findings, methods and sources of relevance. I also aim to promote best practice in climate history, taking a leadership role through, for example, involvement in the PAGES Working Groups ("Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society", "Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies"). This frequently involves emphasizing the need to critically examine all written sources (e.g., bringing to bear knowledge of authorial intent and historical context) and the avoidance of environmentally deterministic interpretations of correspondences between historical events and climatic trends extracted from natural archives such as tree-rings and ice-cores. My approach is best illustrated by reference to two studies. In 2015 I was lead historian in major corrections to Greenland and Antarctic ice-core chronologies that detail the history of past explosive volcanism, assessing the accuracy of corrections by reference to historically observed volcanic "dust-veils" (associated with discoloured or diminished sunlight, often reported by past observers). This study was published in Nature in 2015 (Sigl et al., 2015) and has over 480 citations (Google Scholar, as of January 2020). I next built upon this new volcanic history with a study in Nature Communications (Manning et al., 2017), in which I acted as corresponding author. This employed written observations of Nile flooding (622-1902 CE) to establish the impact of explosive volcanism on the Nile, confirming climate models that predicted post-eruption reductions of the agriculturally critical summer flooding. The study then applied this understanding to questions concerning the causes of violent revolts in Ancient Egypt's Ptolemaic era (305-30 BCE), showing that these aligned with explosive eruptions (and hence poor summer flooding and related socioeconomic problems). This study received widespread attention, having an Attention score falling in the top 5% of all tracked research (Altmetric). It is also the subject of a documentary that first aired on the Smithsonian Channel in January 2020, scheduled for world release in later 2020. Citations: Manning, J. G., Ludlow, F., Stine, A.R., Boos, W., Sigl, M. and Marlon, J. (2017) "Volcanic Suppression of Nile Summer Flooding Triggers Revolt and Constrains Interstate Conflict in Ancient Egypt", Nature Communications, 8, Article 900. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00957-y). Sigl, M., Winstrup, M., McConnell, J.R., Welten, K.C., Plunkett, G., Ludlow, F. (& 18 others) (2015) "Timing and Climate Forcing of Volcanic Eruptions during the Past 2,500 years", Nature, 523, 543-549, doi:10.1038/nature14565.

Projects

  • Title
    • Climates of Conflict in Ancient Babylonia (CLICAB)
  • Summary
    • The CLICAB project will examine to two central hypotheses: (1) That climatic changes, including drought, flooding and other extreme weather, are linked to patterns of violence and conflict in the Ancient Near East, with climate thus playing a key but presently little-considered role in the story of this major region and era of world history, marked by violent conflict, but also material and cultural achievement. (2) That any "climate-conflict linkages" will vary meaningfully through time according to the evolving socioeconomic, political and cultural background in which climatic changes and extreme weather occurred. The project will focus upon the Fertile Crescent kingdom of Babylonia (south-central Mesopotamia, in present-day Iraq) during the first millennium BCE. Textual scholars, linguists and archaeologists of the period have generated a wealth of data that now allows the application of new expertise from environmental historians (including climate historians or historical climatologists). To test the project's hypotheses, the project aims to: 1. Develop a new climatic reconstruction for Babylonia for the first millennium BCE using approaches that integrate the region's rich written and natural archives. 2. Establish if climatic changes are statistically associated with violence and conflict. 3. Identify the "pathways" by which climatic changes may have catalysed violence and conflict, and how Babylonian society attempted to mitigate such violence and conflict. 4. Examine how the changing historical context mediates any role for climate in violence and conflict through this long period. Success will advance our understanding of climate's role in this formative period of history, in the context of a pressing need to understand such a role in present conflicts. It will also facilitate the application of the methodologies developed here to the multiple millennia of documented history in the wider ancient and medieval worlds of Eurasia.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 2018
  • Date To
    • 2022
  • Title
    • Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society
  • Summary
    • The Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society (VICS) working group supports research focused on reconstructing the history of past explosive volcanism, in addition to research utilizing this knowledge to better understand how the climate system responds to changes in radiative forcing, and how societies have been impacted by and responded to the resulting climatic shocks. More specifically, VICS aims to: (1) Improve and extend reconstructions of past volcanic eruptions and their associated regional and global radiative impacts from a variety of proxy sources. (2) Advance physical understanding of different components of the climate system through analysis of their responses to volcanic forcing as recorded in climate proxies and simulated by climate models. (3) Support investigation of the response of societies to sudden climate shocks resulting from volcanic eruptions.
  • Funding Agency
    • PAGES (Past Global Changes)
  • Date From
    • 2015
  • Date To
    • 2021
  • Title
    • Volcanism, Hydrology and Social Conflict: Lessons from Hellenistic and Roman-Era Egypt & Mesopotamia
  • Summary
    • This project examines the link between explosive volcanic eruptions and the annual Nile river summer flooding in antiquity. Large volcanic eruptions can reduce average global temperatures and suppress average global precipitation. This is known to have had dramatic effects on annual rainfall on the Nile watershed in historic times. The human response to this annual flooding, and to its variability over the years, was the major driver of Egyptian history up to the completion of the high dam at Aswan in 1970. This project, a collaboration among historians, scientists, hydrologists, and statisticians, seeks to understand the coupling between the hydrological cycle and human society in Egypt during the Hellenistic era (305 BCE - 30 BCE), a well-documented period of economic, technological and social change with often violent rivalries between major regional powers. The results will also inform our understanding of best-practice responses to the changing climate in the modern world. The project will inform the broad public about human and natural systems and the complex interactions between them at diverse scales, through a traveling exhibition program developed at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. This project will capitalize upon a rare confluence of natural and human archives for Ancient Egypt and the Near East. By comparing rich historical records (papyrus documents and inscriptions) with environmental data and regional climate and hydrologic simulations for repeated abrupt climate events, the research will determine whether and how social dynamics are climate-driven, and whether and how human water management affects regional climate and hydrology. Volcanic eruptions provide tests of human and natural system sensitivity to abrupt shocks because their repeated occurrence allows the identification of systematic relationships in the presence of random variability. The project will make three important contributions: (1) integrate historical data from a wealth of different archives to analyze the connections between climate variability, social unrest, and institutional change during the Hellenistic era; (2) improve knowledge of hydrological responses to volcanic eruptions; (3) document the extent of human impacts on Mediterranean hydrology. Simulations will be used to evaluate the climatic impact of large and sustained volcanism and intensive regional water management. This historical analysis will delineate the mechanisms through which environmental stress influenced state-level behaviors, community responses (such as changes in land and water management), and interstate conflict during the Hellenistic period, and how in return human activities interactively affected soils, land cover, hydrology, and regional climate.
  • Funding Agency
    • U.S. National Science Foundation
  • Date From
    • 2018
  • Date To
    • 2022
  • Title
    • Historical Dynamics of Violence, Conflict and Extreme Weather in Medieval Ireland
  • Summary
    • The goal of this project is to investigate the role of climate in the occurrence of violence and conflict in medieval Ireland, examining the complex pathways connecting climatic shocks (such as extreme weather) to violence and conflict, and the means by which medieval society responded and achieved (or failed to achieve) resilience to these shocks. The Irish Annals, together with information from natural archives such as tree-rings and ice-cores, provide a rich source for such research, revealing the pressures that extreme weather could place upon society, as well as the coping mechanisms employed to restore order.
  • Funding Agency
    • Horizon 2020
  • Date From
    • 01 March 2016
  • Date To
    • 28 February 2018

Keywords

Climate History; environmental anthropology; environmental history; Historical Climatology; Historical Geographical Information Systems; Historical Geography

Recognition

Representations

Steering Committee Member of the PAGES Working Group, "Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society" (VICS) 2015-2021

Editorial Advisory Board, monograph series on Pre-Modern environmental history (Oxford University Press in association with the Princeton Climate Change and History Research Initiative) 2019-Present

"Key Participant" of the PAGES Working Group, "Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies" (CRIAS) 2018-Present

Journal Special Issue Co-Editor for Climate of the Past 2019-2020

Journal Special Issue Co-Editor for Journal of Volcanology & Geothermal Research 2019-2020

Peer Reviewer for Cork University Press 2019-2020

Peer Reviewer for European Research Council 2016

Occasional Peer Reviewer for: Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Communications, Climatic Change, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Global & Planetary Change, Irish Geography, Journal of Irish Archaeology, Geo: Geography and Environment, and Open Archaeology 2010-Present

Peer Reviewer for Geography Publications 2011

Convener of Public Lecture Series of the Irish Environmental History Network (IEHN) 2009-2019

Convener of the Postdoctoral Luncheon Lecture Series of the Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI) 2015

Co-Convener of the Yale Climate History Initiative 2014-2015

Website Manager, Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) 2009-2015

Website Manager, Irish Environmental History Network (IEHN) 2009-2017

Treasurer of the Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) 2009-2011

Website Manager, Geography Publications (www.geographypublications.com) 2005-2010

Website Manager, Journal of Postgraduate Research [now the Trinity Postgraduate Review], Trinity College Dublin 2006

Postgraduate Committee Member, Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin 2005-2007

Editorial Review & Selection Committee, Journal of Postgraduate Research [now the Trinity Postgraduate Review], Trinity College Dublin 2004-2006

Editorial & Production Committee, Atlas: Journal of the Dublin University Geographical Society 2004-2005

Postgraduate Representative, Dublin University Geographical Society (DUGS) 2003-2005

Chairperson, Dublin University Geographical Society (DUGS) 2000-2003

Awards and Honours

Provost's Project Award, Trinity College Dublin 2018

Irish Research Council Starting Laureate Award 2018

Marie Sklodowska-Curie "Individual Fellowship" 2016-2018

Research Associate, Trinity Long Room Hub 2011-2016

Visiting Scholar, MacMillan Center, Genocide Studies Program, Yale University 2014-2015

Research Affiliate, Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University 2012-2013

Yale Climate & Energy Institute "Postdoctoral Fellowship" 2013-2016

Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society "Carson Fellowship", LMU Munich 2013-2014

Visiting Scholar, Initiative for the Science of the Human Past (SoHP), Harvard University 2011-2013

Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar, School of the Human Environment, University College Cork 2012

Harvard University Center for the Environment "Ziff Environmental Fellowship" 2011-2013

Visiting Scholar (Returning), Dendrochronology Laboratory, Queen's University Belfast 2011-2012

Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS) "Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship" (Declined Offer) 2011

Visiting Scholar, Dendrochronology Laboratory, Queen's University Belfast 2006

IRCHSS "Government of Ireland" Postgraduate Scholarship 2004

IRCSET "EMBARK" Postgraduate Scholarship (Declined Offer) 2004

Trinity Postgraduate Studentship 2003

Memberships

Member of the Agricultural History Society of Ireland (AHSI) 2014 – Present

Member of the Forum for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in Ireland (FMRSI) 2012 – Present

Member of the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) 2010 – Present

Member of the Quaternary Research Association (QRA) 2010 – Present

Member of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland (ESHSI) 2010 – Present

Member of the Irish Meteorological Society (IMS) 2009 – Present

Member of the Climate History Network (CHN) 2012 – Present

Co-founder, with Profs. Poul Holm and David Dickson, Convener & Co-Convener of the Irish Environmental History Network (IEHN) 2009 – Present

Member of the Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) 2006 – Present

Member of the Geographical Society of Ireland (GSI) 2006 – Present

Member of the Medieval Chronicle Society 2011 – Present