Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 12:30-2:00 pm.
Place: 239 Regents, Georgetown University, 3700 O st. NW Washington DC, 20057.
Title: Fimbulwinter, Yaxche, and Armageddon: Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society
Abstract: Volcanic eruptions are the most important influence on the climate of the Common Era prior to the anthropogenic rise in atmospheric CO2. Large eruptions cause widespread cooling of surface temperatures and changes to the hydrological cycle, but substantial disagreements still exists between climate model simulations of these effects and paleoclimate reconstructions of Earth history. In this talk I describe the physical mechanisms behind the climate influence of volcanic eruptions and how the timing and magnitude of their impacts can be studied using the annual rings of trees. Tree-ring reconstructions of past temperature and rainfall reveal the spatial and temporal climate fingerprint of these eruptions, but also highlight disagreements and uncertainties especially for large eruptions in the 6th, 13th, and 15th century. Finally, I review recent scholarship linking volcanic eruptions to societal change via climate disruptions and highlight the challenges and opportunities for collaboration between historians and paleoclimatologists.
Lunch will be included. If you plan to attend please email Professor Timothy Newfield (email@example.com) or Professor Dagomar Degroot (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that they may include you in the lunch order.