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Exploring the North in a Changing Climate: The Little Ice Age and the Journals of Henry Hudson, 1607–1611
2015 (English)In: Journal of Northern Studies, ISSN 1654-5915, Vol. 9, no 1, 69-91 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During its nadir between approximately 1565 and 1720, the Little Ice Age cooled the Arctic by 0.5° C relative to early twentieth- century averages. Historians of past climates often craft declensionist and even determinist narratives of the Little Ice Age in the far north. Conversely, social or cultural historians usually depict the early modern Arctic environment as unchanging. The journals kept by Henry Hudson and his crew during their voyages of Arctic exploration provide detailed information on environmental conditions and human responses that bridge these different historical perspectives and concerns. The journals reflect the influence of the Little Ice Age in the Arctic, but also demonstrate that voyages of northern exploration were affected by complex and even counterintuitive relationships between global climate change and its local environmental manifestations. These relationships can only be examined with a rigorous methodology that confronts issues of scale and causation that are still rarely considered by climate historians. Ultimately, the journals reveal that a shifting climate was a dynamic, but hardly determinist, agent in the early modern exploration and exploitation of the Arctic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå, 2015. Vol. 9, no 1, 69-91 p.
Keyword [en]
Climate history, historical climatology, environmental history, early modern history, Henry Hudson, Northern Passage, methodology, spatial scale, temporal scale
National Category
History of Ideas History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-121016OAI: diva2:930642
Available from: 2016-05-24 Created: 2016-05-24 Last updated: 2016-11-16Bibliographically approved

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