NEW PUBLICATION – A prequel to the Dantean Anomaly: the precipitation seesaw and droughts of 1302 to 1307 in Europe

The cold/wet anomaly of the 1310s (“Dantean Anomaly”) has attracted a lot of attention from scholars, as it is commonly interpreted as a signal of the transition between the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and the Little Ice Age (LIA). The huge variability that can be observed during this decade, like the high interannual variability observed in the 1340s, has been highlighted as a side effect of this rapid climatic transition. In this paper, we demonstrate that a multi-seasonal drought of almost 2 years occurred in the Mediterranean between 1302 and 1304, followed by a series of hot, dry summers north of the Alps from 1304 to 1306. We suggest that this outstanding dry anomaly, unique in the 13th and 14th centuries, together with cold anomalies of the 1310s and the 1340s, is part of the climatic shift from the MCA to the LIA. Our reconstruction of the predominant weather patterns of the first decade of the 14th century – based on both documentary and proxy data – identifies multiple European precipitation seesaw events between 1302 and 1307, with similarities to the seesaw conditions which prevailed over continental Europe in 2018. It can be debated to what extent the 1302–1307 period can be compared to what is currently discussed regarding the influence of the phenomenon of Arctic amplification on the increasing frequency of persistent stable weather patterns that have occurred since the late 1980s. Additionally, this paper deals with socioeconomic and cultural responses to drought risks in the Middle Ages as outlined in contemporary sources and provides evidence that there is a significant correlation between pronounced dry seasons and fires that devastated cities.

Bauch, M., Labbé, T., Engel, A., and Seifert, P.: A prequel to the Dantean Anomaly: the precipitation seesaw and droughts of 1302 to 1307 in Europe, Clim. Past, 16, 2343–2358, , 2020

Video lecture M. Bauch: Geoengineering and the Middle Ages

The Berlin-based “Zentrum für Historische Forschungen” of the Polish Academy of Sciences organized, under the lead of Dr. Piotr Filipowski and Dr. Adam Izdebski (Paleo-Science and History, MPI for the Science of Human History, Jena) a series of online lectures with the thoughtprovoking title “What sort of past does the future need?”. Martin Bauch gave a presentation on the topic “Geoengineering and the Middle Ages: Lessons from medieval volcanic eruptions for the Anthropocene”:

New PAGES magazine: Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies

PAGES Working Group CRIAS (“Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies”) has edited the recent issue of Past Global Changes Magazine, with articles on all aspects of Historical Climatology and Climate History, including two contributions by Adrian Jusupovic (Polish Academy of Sciences) and Martin Bauch (GWZO, Freigeist Fellowship) on the potential of climate historical studies for the the High Medieval Rus‘ and by Undine Ott (GWZO, Freigeist Fellowship) on Climate History and the Mamluk Empire.

Have a look at the whole issue here.