On The Cusp Between Paleo And Historical Climatology

Authors: Gregory Burris*, Florida State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Biogeography, Paleoenvironmental Change
Keywords: climate, phenology, historical geography, biogeography, agricultural geography,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom B, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Instrumental records of atmospheric conditions rarely exist beyond the late nineteenth century, and only for a few locations. Historical archives, however, date back to the fourth millennia BCE. Many of these records are centered on observations of the environment the authors lived in. These records of the environment can serve as proxies for climate reconstructions. From ancient Sumerian cuneiform tablets dug up in the Middle-East, to plantation records from the antebellum South, overseers of enslaved agricultural laborers have observed the phenology of the plants tended in their fields. By combining our understanding of the evolutionary history of agriculture crops and the relationship between phenology and climate, we can reconstruct temperatures and other weather conditions over the course of a growing season, indicating how those seasons changed over centuries and millennia. These data can be combined with other proxy reconstructions to extend our current scientific baselines back in time with greater detail.

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