I am reading A Cultural History of Climate, by Wolfgang Behringer, after spotting it as one the reference used by Andy May is his Watts Up With That post on Climate and Human Civilization for the Past 4,000 Years. This a fascinating account of climate change’s impact on human history.
From the Amazon Book Review [edited]:
Global warming and the future of the climate is one of the greatest challenges of our time, but what do we know about climate variations 500 years ago, or 5000 years ago? How can we know anything at all about the history of weather? What impact has climate changes had on human prosperity and the spirit of invention?
In this major new book, Wolfgang Behringer introduces us to the latest historical research on the development of the earth’s climate. He focuses above all on the cultural reactions to climate change through the ages, showing how even minor modifications in the environment sometimes resulted in significant social, political and religious upheavals. By examining how our predecessors responded to climate changes, Behringer provides us with a fresh basis for thinking about how we might address the serious climatic challenges we face today.
I was struck by the variability in the climate even during the cold periods, including droughts, floods, extreme heat and cold as reported in the letters, journals, and sermons by those experiencing these conditions. These first-hand reports were chilling when you consider we are on the cusp of the Next Grand Minimum.