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Dates:
04.12 - 05.12.2014
Venue:
Bern, Switzerland
Contact person:
Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research - Universität Bern, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website:
http://www.hist.unibe.ch/content...

Abstracts due by 15 August, 2014

Scope of the workshop

The 1430s were one of the coldest decades of the last millennium in Europe. The extremely cold winters of this time period have been attributed to the Spörer Minimum – a phase of reduced solar activity during the 15th and 16th century – and a number of explosive volcanic eruptions. The temperatures remained low until late spring and in early autumn the weather already began to turn cold again. This led to a considerable shortening of the growing season and in consequence to devastating losses in agricultural production. Two rainy summer seasons aggravated the situation further. As a result of these hostile weather conditions crop failures and a famine struck large parts of Europe in 1437 to 1439. At the same time a plague epidemic raged on the continent, further increasing the mortality rate amongst the populace.  Confronted by plague and famine individuals as well as the authorities took a number of measures in their attempt to cope with the crisis. In many regions across Europe adaption strategies were established as a result the famine.

This workshop focuses on the climate during the Spörer Minimum and particularly the cold 1430s. The first part of the workshop deals with climate models facilitating an understanding of the effects of a solar minimum on climate systems. Reconstructions based on the analysis of ice cores, lake sediments, tree rings, and documentary data amongst others will be presented in the second part. The third part of the workshop focuses on the economic, social and cultural impacts of the cold anomaly, the epidemic plague and the famine.

We invite contributions from all fields dealing with:

  • Climate model simulations covering the Spörer Minimum
  • Climate reconstructions based on different methods covering the Spörer Minimum
  • The famine in the 1430s
  • Social, economic and cultural impacts of the climate during the 1430s
  • Social, economic and cultural impacts of the mentioned famine
  • Coping and adaptation strategies connected to these crisis years
  • Epidemics during the 15th century
  • A publication of the contributions in a special issue of a journal is envisaged.

    Confirmed Speakers

- Bruce Campbell (Queen’s University, Belfast, UK)
- Rudolf Brazdil (Masaryk University, CZ)
- Christian Jörg (Saarland University, Saarbrücken, DE)
- Jürg Luterbacher (University of Giessen, DE)
- Christian Pfister (University of Bern, CH)
- Christoph Raible (University of Bern, CH)
- This Rutishauser (University of Bern, CH)
- Philip Slavin (University of Kent, UK)
- Richard C. Hoffmann (York University, Toronto, CA)

Guidelines for Paper Abstracts

The two day workshop consists of different sessions. In each we will hear of 3-4 presentations which will be followed by a discussion. The workshop language is English. Presenters of accepted papers are asked to speak for 15-20 minutes. Depending on the number of submitted abstracts an additional poster presentation session will be taken into consideration. A workshop fee of 100 CHF will be charged to cover coffee breaks and lunch.

Applications should include:

- Title of the proposed paper

- Abstract of not more than 500 words, including key words

- Contact information (affiliation, e-mail, telephone and postal address)

The application should be sent before 15 August 2014 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You will be notified if your contribution is accepted by 15 September 2014.

More information

Meeting flyer (pdf)

If you have further questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Organising committee: Chantal Camenisch, Kathrin Keller, Melanie Salvisberg