Climatic Variability in Sixteenth-Century Europe and Its Social Dimension
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.