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February 12, 2013: Seeking the Iceberg in the Mist: Reconstructing the Past Climate of Iceland Using Documentary Sources

Astrid Ogilvie is a climate and environmental historian and human ecologist. She is a fellow at the Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder and a Senior Affiliate Scientist, Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri, Iceland.

13-02-12-OgilvieDr. Ogilvie’s overarching career goal is to build bridges between the humanities and the natural sciences in order to foster interdisciplinary cross-fertilization. Her wide-ranging research interests include the human ecology of Arctic and Subarctic regions; the environmental, social, and human history of countries bordering the North Atlantic, in particular Norway, Iceland, Greenland, and Labrador/Newfoundland; studies of sustainability and adaptability in Norway, Iceland and Canada; changing seasonality in the Arctic; the historical climatology of northern Europe and especially Iceland; the reconstruction of variations in the incidence of sea ice off the coasts of Iceland, Newfoundland/Labrador, the Greenland Sea and the Barents Sea; the impact of climate on societies (human dimensions); human and social dynamics in the context of climatic and environmental changes; syntheses of proxy climate records; North Atlantic fisheries history; the Viking period; the medieval literature of Iceland; and the analysis of primary historical texts in English, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish.She is currently writing a book on documentary records of climate change.

In order to put knowledge of the climate of the present, and potentially of the future, into context, it is vital to know about the climate of the past. As systematic meteorological records only extend for a limited period back in time it is necessary to find other methods of learning about past climates. One particularly fruitful method is the use of documentary, historical records. In Iceland these are particularly detailed and extensive, allowing us to reconstruct time series of temperature and sea-ice incidence.

This presentation is organized by Geraldine Heng, a current Winton Chair holder.


This talk is also available as an audio download (.mp3 – 31.5 MB) or as a video podcast (.m4v – 167.8 MB).

Question and Answer Session

This Q&A is also available as an audio download (.mp3 – 17.6 MB) or as a video podcast (.m4v – 95.8 MB).

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