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Dr. Francis Ludlow

Assistant Professor (History)

Francis Ludlow is Assistant Professor of Medieval Environmental History, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), and co-founder of the Irish Environmental History Network (in 2009) and Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities (in 2017). He is currently Principal Investigator of the IRC Laureate Award-funded project "Climates of Conflict in Ancient Babylonia" (2018-2022) and Co-PI of the U.S. National Science Foundation-funded project "Volcanism, Hydrology and Social Conflict: Lessons from Egypt & Mesopotamia" (2018-2022). He is Project Partner of the IRC COALESCE-funded project "Irish Droughts: Environmental and Cultural Memories of a Neglected Hazard" (2019-2021), and the Swiss National Science Foundation-funded project "Effects of Large Volcanic Eruptions on Climate and Societies" (2019-2023). He serves on the "Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society" working group Steering Committee (2015-Present), and as a "Key Participant" (2018-Present) of the "Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies" working group (both PAGES-funded). He also serves (2019-Present) on the Editorial Advisory Board of a new monograph series on Pre-Modern environmental history, produced by Oxford University Press in association with the Princeton Climate Change and History Research Initiative. From 2016-2018, he was Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow in TCD, leading the "Historical Dynamics of Violence, Conflict and Extreme Weather in Medieval Ireland" project, with Poul Holm. From 2013-2016, he was Yale Climate & Energy Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, working with Ben Kiernan (History) and Michael R. Dove (Forestry & Environmental Studies), on a project entitled "Climate as Catalyst in 1,224 Years of Violence and Conflict in Ireland, AD425-1649". From 2014 to 2015, he was Visiting Scholar with the Yale MacMillan Center Genocide Studies Program. He also held a Carson Fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (LMU Munich) from 2013 to 2014. From 2011 to 2013 he was a Ziff Environmental Fellow (Harvard University Center for the Environment), working with Michael McCormick (History) and the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past (SoHP) at Harvard, on a project entitled "Unifying High-Resolution Records of Environmental and Societal Stresses for Ireland, AD425-1650", combining Irish annals, tree-ring and ice-core records. From 2012 to 2013 he was a Research Affiliate of the Harvard University Center for Geographic Analysis. From 2009 to 2011 Francis was Research Fellow, and from 2011 to 2016 was Research Associate, with the Trinity Long Room Hub. From 2007 to 2011 he lectured in Geography, TCD. He has also lectured and contributed to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Dublin City University, Maynooth University, St. Patrick's College (Drumcondra), Yale University, Harvard University and Princeton University. From 2009 to 2011 he was Treasurer of the Irish Quaternary Association, and from 2015 to 2019 was part of the Scientific Programme Committee and Local Organizing Committee that brought the 20th International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Congress to Dublin in 2019. In 2006 and again 2010-2011 he was a Visiting Scholar in the Dendrochronology Lab, Queen's University Belfast, working with Mike Baillie and David Brown on comparing historic weather extremes and the Irish oak tree-ring record. He has also worked in University College Cork (2008-2009) with Paul Leahy and Ger Kiely on the EPA-funded "Extreme Weather, Climate and Natural Disasters in Ireland" project. Francis obtained a B.A. in Geography & Economics from TCD in 2003, a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics from TCD in 2005, and a PhD in Geography from TCD in 2011. His PhD thesis is entitled "The Utility of the Irish Annals as a Source for the Reconstruction of Climate".
  Climate History   environmental anthropology   environmental history   Historical Climatology   Historical Geographical Information Systems   Historical Geography
 Climates of Conflict in Ancient Babylonia (CLICAB)
 Volcanism, Hydrology and Social Conflict: Lessons from Hellenistic and Roman-Era Egypt & Mesopotamia
 Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society
 Historical Dynamics of Violence, Conflict and Extreme Weather in Medieval Ireland

Details Date
Steering Committee Member of the PAGES Working Group, "Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society" (VICS) 2015-2021
Convener of Public Lecture Series of the Irish Environmental History Network (IEHN) 2009-2019
Convener of the Postdoctoral Luncheon Lecture Series of the Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI) 2015
Co-Convener of the Yale Climate History Initiative 2014-2015
Website Manager, Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) 2009-2015
Website Manager, Irish Environmental History Network (IEHN) 2009-2017
Treasurer of the Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) 2009-2011
Website Manager, Geography Publications ( 2005-2010
Website Manager, Journal of Postgraduate Research [now the Trinity Postgraduate Review], Trinity College Dublin 2006
Postgraduate Committee Member, Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin 2005-2007
Editorial Review & Selection Committee, Journal of Postgraduate Research [now the Trinity Postgraduate Review], Trinity College Dublin 2004-2006
Editorial Advisory Board, monograph series on Pre-Modern environmental history (Oxford University Press in association with the Princeton Climate Change and History Research Initiative) 2019-Present
Editorial & Production Committee, Atlas: Journal of the Dublin University Geographical Society 2004-2005
Postgraduate Representative, Dublin University Geographical Society (DUGS) 2003-2005
Chairperson, Dublin University Geographical Society (DUGS) 2000-2003
"Key Participant" of the PAGES Working Group, "Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies" (CRIAS) 2018-Present
Journal Special Issue Co-Editor for Climate of the Past 2019-2020
Journal Special Issue Co-Editor for Journal of Volcanology & Geothermal Research 2019-2020
Peer Reviewer for Cork University Press 2019-2020
Peer Reviewer for European Research Council 2016
Occasional Peer Reviewer for: Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Communications, Climatic Change, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Global & Planetary Change, Irish Geography, Journal of Irish Archaeology, Geo: Geography and Environment, and Open Archaeology 2010-Present
Peer Reviewer for Geography Publications 2011
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
Details Date From Date To
Member of the Agricultural History Society of Ireland (AHSI) 2014 Present
Member of the Geographical Society of Ireland (GSI) 2006 Present
Member of the Medieval Chronicle Society 2011 Present
Member of the Forum for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in Ireland (FMRSI) 2012 Present
Member of the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) 2010 Present
Member of the Quaternary Research Association (QRA) 2010 Present
Member of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland (ESHSI) 2010 Present
Member of the Irish Meteorological Society (IMS) 2009 Present
Member of the Climate History Network (CHN) 2012 Present
Co-founder, with Profs. Poul Holm and David Dickson, Convener & Co-Convener of the Irish Environmental History Network (IEHN) 2009 Present
Member of the Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) 2006 Present
Charles Travis, Francis Ludlow, Ferenc Gyuris, Historical Geography, GIScience and Textual Analysis: Landscapes of Time and Place, New York, Springer International Publising, 2020, 1 - 272pp, Notes: [This book illustrates how literature, history and geographical analysis complement and enrich each other's disciplinary endeavors. The Hun-Lenox Globe, constructed in 1510, contains the Latin phrase 'Hic sunt dracones' ('Here be dragons'), warning sailors of the dangers of drifting into uncharted waters. Nearly half a millennium earlier, the practice of 'earth-writing' (geographia) emerged from the cloisters of the great library of Alexandria, as a discipline blending the twin pursuits of Strabo's poetic impression of places, and Herodotus' chronicles of events and cultures. Eratosthenes, a librarian at Alexandria, and the mathematician Ptolemy employed geometry as another language with which to pursue 'earth-writing'. From this ancient, East Mediterranean fount, the streams of literary perception, historical record and geographical analysis (phenomenological and Euclidean) found confluence. The aim of this collection is to recover such means and seek the fount of such rich waters, by exploring relations between historical geography, geographic information science (GIS) / geoscience, and textual analysis. The book discusses and illustrates current case studies, trends and discourses in European, American and Asian spheres, where historical geography is practiced in concert with human and physical applications of GIS (and the broader geosciences) and the analysis of text - broadly conceived as archival, literary, historical, cultural, climatic, scientific, digital, cinematic and media. ], Book, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Mapping the Irish Rath (Ringfort): Landscape Settlement Patterns in the Early Medieval Period in, editor(s)Charles Travis, Francis Ludlow, Ferenc Gyuris , Historical Geography, GIScience and Textual Analysis: Landscapes of Time and Place, New York, Springer International Publising, 2020, [Robert Legg, Francis Ludlow, Charles Travis], Notes: [The landscape motif of the Irish rath, or ringfort, is closely associated with early medieval settlement in Ireland (400-1100 AD). Ringforts were circular or near-circular enclosures, typically constructed by digging a surrounding ditch, the material from which would be used to construct an adjacent earthen bank. The majority of ringfort sites feature a single ditch and bank (known as a univallate site), but double or triple banked sites are also known, and are described as bivallate and trivallate, respectively. Variations in ringfort morphology and in the physical geographical characteristics of their site location provides a valuable field record that is indicative of the diversity of socioeconomic roles played by these sites and of the status of individuals and clans responsible for their construction and occupation. Ringfort locations generally represented the habitation centre of the farmstead, comprising one or more dwellings. Petal-shaped fields would surround the site. This chapter discusses a geographical information science (GIScience) and geostatistical study of ringfort locations in the Irish Midlands, utilizing data sourced from the Irish Government's Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government archaeological site spatial database. This study also draws on archaeological and historical database records and fieldwork analysis in order to consider the relations between physical environmental context and ringfort settlement patterns.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI
Guillet, S., Corona, C., Ludlow, F., Oppenheimer, C., Stoffel, M., Climatic and Societal Impacts of a "Forgotten" Cluster of Volcanic Eruptions in 1108-1110 CE, Scientific Reports, 10, 2020, p1-10 , Notes: [Recently revised ice core chronologies for Greenland have newly identified one of the largest sulfate deposition signals of the last millennium as occurring between 1108 and 1113 CE. Long considered the product of the 1104 CE Hekla (Iceland) eruption, this event can now be associated with substantial deposition seen in Antarctica under a similarly revised chronology. This newly recognized bipolar deposition episode has consequently been deemed to reveal a previously unknown major tropical eruption in 1108 CE. Here we show that a unique medieval observation of a "dark" total lunar eclipse attests to a dust veil over Europe in May 1110 CE, corroborating the revised ice-core chronologies. Furthermore, careful evaluation of ice core records points to the occurrence of several closely spaced volcanic eruptions between 1108 and 1110 CE. The sources of these eruptions remain unknown, but we propose that Mt. Asama, whose largest Holocene eruption occurred in August 1108 CE and is credibly documented by a contemporary Japanese observer, is a plausible contributor to the elevated sulfate in Greenland. Dendroclimatology and historical documentation both attest, moreover, to severe climatic anomalies following the proposed eruptions, likely providing the environmental preconditions for subsistence crises experienced in Western Europe between 1109 and 1111 CE.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Ludlow, F., McGovern, R., Five Centuries of Human Observation Reveal Europe's Flood History, Nature, 583, 2020, p522 - 524, Notes: [Europe's rich heritage of historical documents has been used to reconstruct the flooding history of the continent for the past five centuries. This could help policymakers to develop flood-management strategies for the future.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
B.M.S. Campbell, F. Ludlow, Climate, disease and society in late-medieval Ireland, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 120C, 2020, Notes: [Palaeoclimatic data are used to track the significant changes in atmospheric circulation patterns and weather conditions that affected Ireland between 1000 and 1500CE. How these climatic developments and associated shifts in the epidemiological environment were mapped onto Irish society is explored using a tree-ring chronology reflecting the retreat and advance of oak woodland. Years characterised by significant weather-related food scarcities are identified from the Irish Annals in combination with the independent record of English chronicles, grain yields and prices. Between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries the experience of the two countries is shown to have diverged. It is suggested that in late-medieval Ireland scarcity heightened the resort to violence and was from 1348 often a proximate cause of plague outbreaks. In combination, scarcity, violence and plague helped entrap fifteenth-century society in a low-level equilibrium of sparse population, economic under-development, scarcely disguised poverty and low resilience to natural hazards.], Journal Article, IN_PRESS
McConnell, J. R., Sigl, M., Plunkett, G., Burke, A., Kim, W. M., Raible, C. C., Wilson, A. I., Manning, J. G., Ludlow, F., Chellman, N. J., Innes, H. M., Yang, Z., Larsen1, J. F., Schaefer, J. R., Kipfstuhl, S., Mojtabavi1, S., Wilhelms, F., Opel, T., Meyer, H. and Steffensen, J. P., Extreme Climate after Massive Eruption of Alaska's Okmok Volcano in 43 BCE and Effects on the Late Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117, (27), 2020, p15443 - 15449, Notes: [The first century BCE fall of the Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom and subsequent rise of the Roman Empire were among the most important political transitions in the history of Western civilization. Volcanic fallout in well-dated Arctic ice core records, climate proxies, and Earth system modeling show that this transition occurred during an extreme cold period resulting from a massive eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano early in 43 BCE. Written sources describe unusual climate, crop failures, famine, disease, and unrest in the Mediterranean immediately following the eruption-suggesting significant vulnerability to hydroclimatic shocks in otherwise sophisticated and powerful ancient states. Such shocks must be seen as having played a role in the historical developments for which the period is famed.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Haldon, J., Chase, A. F., Eastwood, W., Medina-Elizalde, M., Izdebski, A., Ludlow, F., Middleton, G., Mordechai, L., Nesbitt, J., and Turner II, B. L., Demystifying Collapse: Climate, Environment, and Social Agency in Pre-Modern Societies, Millennium, 17, 2020, Notes: [Collapse is a term that has attracted much attention in social science literature in recent years, but there remain substantial areas of disagreement about how it should be understood in historical contexts. More specifically, the use of the term collapse often merely serves to dramatise long-past events, to push human actors into the background, and to mystify the past intellectually. At the same time, since human societies are complex systems, the alternative involves grasping the challenges that a holistic analysis presents, taking account of the many different levels and paces at which societies function, and developing appropriate methods that help to integrate science and history. Often neglected elements in considerations of collapse are the perceptions and beliefs of a historical society and how a given society deals with change; an important facet of this, almost entirely ignored in the discussion, is the understanding of time held by the individuals and social groups affected by change; and from this perspective 'collapse' depends very much on perception, including the perceptions of the modern commentator. With this in mind, this article challenges simplistic notions of 'collapse' in an effort to encourage a more nuanced understanding of the impact and process of both social and environmental change on past human societies.], Journal Article, IN_PRESS  DOI
O'Connor, S., Murphy, C., Butler, J., Crampsie, A., Ludlow, F., Horvath, C., Jobbova, E., A Weather Diary from Donegal, Ireland, 1846-1875, Weather, 2020, p7 , Notes: [In this paper, we present a weather diary for Glendooen, Co. Donegal, most likely compiled by Rev. Henry Kingsmill for the years 1846-1875. The original manuscript record of the diary is held in the archives of Armagh Observatory (Butler and Hoskin, 1987). The diary is an important source of information on nineteenth century Irish weather as it was recorded in the northwest, a relatively poorly observed part of the island, and covers a critical period of Irish history - that of the Great Famine, 1845-1852.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Conor Murphy, Robert L. Wilby, Tom Matthews, Csaba Horvath, Arlene Crampsie, Francis Ludlow, Simon Noone, Jordan Brannigan, Jamie Hannaford, Robert MacLeman, Eva Jobbova, The Forgotten Drought of 1765-1768: Reconstructing and Re-evaluating Historical Droughts in the British and Irish Isles, International Journal of Climatology, 2020, p1-23 , Notes: [Historical precipitation records are fundamental for the management of water resources, yet rainfall observations typically span 100 - 150 years at most, with considerable uncertainties surrounding earlier records. Here, we analyse some of the longest available precipitation records globally, for England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. To assess the credibility of these records and extend them further back in time, we statistically reconstruct (using independent predictors) monthly precipitation series representing these regions for the period 1748-2000. By applying the Standardised Precipitation Index at 12-month accumulations (SPI-12) to the observed and our reconstructed series we re-evaluate historical meteorological droughts. We find strong agreement between observed and reconstructed drought chronologies in post-1870 records, but divergence in earlier series due to biases in early precipitation observations. Hence, the 1800s decade was less drought prone in our reconstructions relative to observations. Overall, the drought of 1834- 1836 was the most intense SPI-12 event in our reconstruction for England and Wales. Newspaper accounts and documentary sources confirm the extent of impacts across England in particular. We also identify a major, 'forgotten' drought in 1765-1768 that affected the British-Irish Isles. This was the most intense event in our reconstructions for Ireland and Scotland, and ranks first for accumulated deficits across all three regional series. Moreover, the 1765-1768 event was also the most extreme multi-year drought across all regional series when considering 36-month accumulations (SPI-36). Newspaper and other sources confirm the occurrence and major socio-economic impact of this drought, such as major rivers like the Shannon being fordable by foot. Our results provide new insights into historical droughts across the British Irish Isles. Given the importance of historical droughts for stress-testing the resilience of water resources, drought plans and supply systems, the forgotten drought of 1765-1768 offers perhaps the most extreme benchmark scenario in more than 250-years.], Journal Article, ACCEPTED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Travis, Charles; Ludlow, Francis; Matthews, Al; Lougheed, Kevin; Rankin, Kieran; Allaire, Bernard; Legg, Robert; Hayes, Patrick; Nicholls, John; Towns, Lydia; Holm, Poul, Inventing the Grand Banks: A Deep Chart. Humanities GIS, Cartesian, and Literary Perceptions of the North-West Atlantic Fishery ca 1500-1800, Geo: Geography and Environment, 7, (1), 2020, pe00085 , Notes: [The early modern 'invention' of the Grand Banks, a feature of the Fish Revolution (CA 1500), facilitated massive and unprecedented extractions of Gadus morhua (cod) from the waters of the north Atlantic. The invention of this oceanic plantation, the result of the confluence between cartography, commerce, and cultural agency, contributed to capitalizing modern European and North America societies, and created conflict between bourgeoning Western empires. Fernand Braudel noted that "a historical study centred on a stretch of water has all the charms but undoubtedly all the dangers of a new departure" (1973, p.19). Embracing such a risk, this paper engages Humanities GIS (HumGIS) as a method to parse knowledge from sea and fishery charts, letters, pieces of drama, and scientific surveys, to study the historical geographies of the early modern north-Atlantic Ă©conomie-monde.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI

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Celine Vidal, Matthew Toohey, Michael Sigl, Kevin Anchukaitis, Francis Ludlow, Allegra N. LeGrande, Understanding Volcanic Impacts through Time: 4th VICS Workshop, Cambridge, UK, 13-16 April 2019, Past Global Changes Magazine, 27, (2), 2019, p81 - 81, Notes: [The Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society (VICS; working group initiated Phase 2 this year. The aim of Phase 2 is to extend the scope of VICS to major eruptions throughout the Holocene and beyond by exploring evidence of volcanic forcing, testing model experiments, and placing an increased emphasis on archaeological evidence of societal impacts and responses to complement the focus on written records from Phase 1. This year, the meeting - the largest to date - gathered 70 delegates with expertise in history, archaeology, dendrochronology, ice cores, climate modeling, tephrochronology, and volcanology.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Eva Jobbová, Arlene Crampsie, Conor Murphy, Francis Ludlow, Robert McLeman, Csaba Horvath, Drought: Ireland's Forgotten Hazard?,, 2019, Notes: [The summer of 2018 left memories of low river levels, brown fields, unusually warm and sunny weather, cash-strapped farmers, and the infamous 'hosepipe ban' when authorities encouraged people to report on any neighbours who dared water their gardens with a hose. Was 2018 an anomaly, or a taste of things to come in a changing climate? Were droughts common in Ireland's past, and have they simply been forgotten? If so, what can we learn about their impacts, and can such knowledge help us be more prepared in the future? These are some of the questions that our Irish Research Council funded project, Irish Droughts: Environmental and Cultural Memories of a Neglected Hazard, attempts to answer. By combining new oral histories with existing climatic records, tree-ring data, historical documents and folklore, we aim to reconstruct Ireland's drought history, and examine their severity, geographical extent and impacts from the medieval period to the present.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Ida Milne, Conor Dodd, Georgina Laragy, Francis Ludlow, 'Pandemic: Ireland and the Great Flu 1918-1919', Dublin, Glasnevin Trust and Trinity College Dublin, 2018, -, Exhibition, PUBLISHED
Matthew Toohey, Francis Ludlow, Allegra LeGrande, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Michael Sigl, Interdisciplinary Views on the Impacts of Volcanic Eruptions: From Global to Personal, Past Global Changes Magazine, 24, (2), 2016, p78 , Notes: [The inaugural workshop of the PAGES Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society (VICS) working group convened approximately 50 established and early-career researchers from across Europe, North America, South America and Asia. Attendees, representing a wide range of research fields, presented on topics grouped into three broad themes: reconstructing volcanic activity and climate forcing through time, climatic responses to volcanic eruptions, and societal resilience and vulnerability to volcanically induced climate change. Discussion sessions focusing on key cross-cutting scientific questions were held to stimulate brainstorming of potential products for the working group.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Matthew Toohey, Michael Sigl, Francis Ludlow, Allegra N. LeGrande, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society Working Group, Past Global Changes Magazine, 24, (1), 2016, p29 , Notes: [Volcanic eruptions are an awe-inspiring example of a natural driver of environmental change. At the local scale, erupted lava, ash and gases can have a drastic impact on the environment, with sometimes severe impacts on ecosystems, human health and economies. Global scale impacts can be produced by major volcanic eruptions, like those of Mt. Pinatubo (1991), or Tambora (1815). Such large-scale effects are due primarily to the injection of sulfur into the stratosphere, resulting in the formation of sulfate aerosols. The primary impact of these aerosols is a decrease in global temperature; however, the aerosols can also affect atmospheric circulation and precipitation patterns, leading to complex regional-scale climate impacts. Information on the climate anomalies resulting from volcanic eruptions in the Earth's past therefore provides important insights for understanding the global and regional climate responses to external forcing agents. This in turn informs predictions of future climate change, such as that due to projected increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Volcanically induced climate changes also provide valuable test cases for understanding the impact of climate variability on society.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Matthew Toohey, Francis Ludlow, Allegra LeGrande, How did Climate and Humans Respond to Past Volcanic Eruptions?, Eos: Earth & Space Science News, 97, 2016, Notes: [To predict and prepare for future climate change, scientists are striving to understand how global-scale climatic change manifests itself on regional scales and also how societies adapt-or don't-to sometimes subtle and complex climatic changes. In this regard, the strongest volcanic eruptions of the past are powerful test cases, showcasing how the broad climate system responds to sudden changes in radiative forcing and how societies have responded to the resulting climatic shocks.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Francis Ludlow, Workshop Examines Climate Change and Human Response in the History of Western Eurasia from AD 1 to 1600, Harvard University Center for the Environment Newsletter, 5, (1), 2013, p29 - 29, Notes: [On November 28 [2012], the Harvard Initiative for the Science of the Human Past and the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) co-sponsored a day-long workshop on "Climate Change and Human Response in the History of Western Eurasia, AD 1-1600." Convened and chaired by Michael McCormick, Goelet professor of medieval history, the workshop brought together scholars from all sides of the traditional divisions between the humanities, social and natural sciences. The goal was to review recent progress and explore the potential to further combine historical and archaeological records with high-resolution palaeo climate proxy data to better understand the development of climate across this broad period and region-and ultimately, climate's influence on human society.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Francis Ludlow, Tree Ring Chronology of Meteorological Extremes for Ireland, AD425-1650, Irish Meteorological Society Newsletter, 5, 2011, p54 - 59, Notes: [The existence of the excellent Irish dendrochronological record and the long and abundant record of weather extremes in the Irish Annals offers the prospect of significantly improving our knowledge of Ireland's climate history. Our island is a key region for the study of past climatic conditions, occupying a climatically sensitive northeast Atlantic location. Our climate is sensitive to the influence of major atmospheric modes of variability, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, and to ocean circulation changes (Sweeney, 1997; Turney et al., 2005). And now, more than ever, an improved understanding of our climate history is needed to distinguish climate change, as influenced solely by natural factors in the past (e.g. volcanism or solar variability), from that caused by human activities in the future.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Francis Ludlow, The Irish Environmental History Network: Its Role and Development after 18 Months, Irish Meteorological Society Newsletter, 4, 2011, p40 - 41, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Francis Ludlow, The Irish Environmental History Network: Establishment, Potential and Aims, Geonews: Newsletter of the Geographical Society of Ireland, 33, 2010, p13 - 15, Journal Article, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Provost's Project Award, Trinity College Dublin 2018
Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar, School of the Human Environment, University College Cork 2012
Harvard University Center for the Environment "Ziff Environmental Fellowship" 2011-2013
Visiting Scholar (Returning), Dendrochronology Laboratory, Queen's University Belfast 2011-2012
Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS) "Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship" (Declined Offer) 2011
Visiting Scholar, Dendrochronology Laboratory, Queen's University Belfast 2006
IRCHSS "Government of Ireland" Postgraduate Scholarship 2004
IRCSET "EMBARK" Postgraduate Scholarship (Declined Offer) 2004
Trinity Postgraduate Studentship 2003
Irish Research Council Starting Laureate Award 2018
Marie Sklodowska-Curie "Individual Fellowship" 2016-2018
Research Associate, Trinity Long Room Hub 2011-2016
Visiting Scholar, MacMillan Center, Genocide Studies Program, Yale University 2014-2015
Research Affiliate, Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University 2012-2013
Yale Climate & Energy Institute "Postdoctoral Fellowship" 2013-2016
Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society "Carson Fellowship", LMU Munich 2013-2014
Visiting Scholar, Initiative for the Science of the Human Past (SoHP), Harvard University 2011-2013
My main research interests lie in climate history, a discipline at the intersection of environmental history and climatology. It is a young field but has grown in prominence with concerns over the pace of current and projected climate change, as well as the extent to which societies might adapt (or fail to adapt) to these changes. Climate history offers important insights here, with its major foci being (1) the reconstruction of past climatic conditions using the evidence of historical archives (an approach also often defined as historical climatology), and (2) the impacts of past climatic changes on societies. In my experience, most climate historians focus on one strand, but my broad background in geography, economics and statistics (TCD) and history (Harvard, Yale, Munich) has positioned me well to contribute to both. My interest is frequently to act as a bridge between scholars in the natural and human sciences, communicating (and "translating") findings, methods and sources of relevance. I also aim to promote best practice in climate history, taking a leadership role through, for example, involvement in the PAGES Working Groups ("Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society", "Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies"). This frequently involves emphasizing the need to critically examine all written sources (e.g., bringing to bear knowledge of authorial intent and historical context) and the avoidance of environmentally deterministic interpretations of correspondences between historical events and climatic trends extracted from natural archives such as tree-rings and ice-cores. My approach is best illustrated by reference to two studies. In 2015 I was lead historian in major corrections to Greenland and Antarctic ice-core chronologies that detail the history of past explosive volcanism, assessing the accuracy of corrections by reference to historically observed volcanic "dust-veils" (associated with discoloured or diminished sunlight, often reported by past observers). This study was published in Nature in 2015 (Sigl et al., 2015) and has over 480 citations (Google Scholar, as of January 2020). I next built upon this new volcanic history with a study in Nature Communications (Manning et al., 2017), in which I acted as corresponding author. This employed written observations of Nile flooding (622-1902 CE) to establish the impact of explosive volcanism on the Nile, confirming climate models that predicted post-eruption reductions of the agriculturally critical summer flooding. The study then applied this understanding to questions concerning the causes of violent revolts in Ancient Egypt's Ptolemaic era (305-30 BCE), showing that these aligned with explosive eruptions (and hence poor summer flooding and related socioeconomic problems). This study received widespread attention, having an Attention score falling in the top 5% of all tracked research (Altmetric). It is also the subject of a documentary that first aired on the Smithsonian Channel in January 2020, scheduled for world release in later 2020. Citations: Manning, J. G., Ludlow, F., Stine, A.R., Boos, W., Sigl, M. and Marlon, J. (2017) "Volcanic Suppression of Nile Summer Flooding Triggers Revolt and Constrains Interstate Conflict in Ancient Egypt", Nature Communications, 8, Article 900. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00957-y). Sigl, M., Winstrup, M., McConnell, J.R., Welten, K.C., Plunkett, G., Ludlow, F. (& 18 others) (2015) "Timing and Climate Forcing of Volcanic Eruptions during the Past 2,500 years", Nature, 523, 543-549, doi:10.1038/nature14565.