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Dr. Francis Ludlow

Associate Professor (History)

Francis Ludlow is Associate 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 a Principal Investigator of the ERC Synergy 4-OCEANS project "Human History of Marine Life: Extraction, Knowledge, Drivers & Consumption of Marine Resources, c.100 BCE to c.1860 CE" (2021-2027), Principal Investigator of the IRC Laureate Award project "Climates of Conflict in Ancient Babylonia" (2018-2023) and Co-PI of the U.S. National Science Foundation project "Volcanism, Hydrology and Social Conflict: Lessons from Egypt & Mesopotamia" (2018-2024). He is Project Partner of the Swiss National Science Foundation 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 monograph series on Pre-Modern environmental history, produced by Oxford University Press in association with the Princeton Climate Change and History Research Initiative. From 2019-2022 he was Project Partner of the IRC COALESCE-funded project "Irish Droughts: Environmental and Cultural Memories of a Neglected Hazard". 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 2014-2015, 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 2012-2013 he was a Research Affiliate of the Harvard University Center for Geographic Analysis. From 2009-2011 Francis was Research Fellow, and from 2011-2016 was Research Associate, with the Trinity Long Room Hub. From 2007-2011 he lectured in Geography, TCD. He has also 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 2009-2011 he was Treasurer of the Irish Quaternary Association, and from 2015-2019 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
 4-OCEANS: Human History of Marine Life: Extraction, Knowledge, Drivers & Consumption of Marine Resources, c.100 BCE to c.1860 CE
 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) 2015-2022
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
"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 2019-2021
Journal Special Issue Co-Editor for Journal of Volcanology & Geothermal Research 2019-2021
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, Environmental History, Global & Planetary Change, International Journal of Climatology, Irish Geography, Journal of Irish Archaeology, Geo: Geography and Environment, Open Archaeology, and Cork University Press. 2010-Present
Peer Reviewer for Geography Publications 2011
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 & 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
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 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
Member of the Geographical Society of Ireland (GSI) 2006 Present
Member of the Medieval Chronicle Society 2011 Present
Cordula Scherer, Francis Ludlow, Al Matthews, Patrick Hayes, Riina Klais, Poul Holm, A Historical Plankton Index: Zooplankton abundance in the North Sea since 800 CE, Holocene, 2024, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
Climate, Violence and Ethnic Conflict in the Ancient World in, editor(s)Ben Kiernan, Tracy Maria Lemos, Tristan Taylor , The Cambridge World History of Genocide, Volume 1: Genocide in the Ancient, Medieval and Premodern Worlds, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2023, pp150 - 182, [Ludlow, F., Kostick, C., Morris, C.], Notes: [Studies of past or possible future climatic contributions to genocide are rare, perhaps partly due to the terrible scale and relatedly lesser incidence of the phenomenon relative to other violence, and an imperative to unravel its more explicitly human causes. Relevant, too, are doubts over the status of premodern cases as genocides. This chapter concentrates largely on climate and state violence (sometimes arguably amounting to genocide) in the ancient Near East, particularly involving the well-documented Neo-Assyrian Empire and internal revolt in Egypt"s Ptolemaic state.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  URL
Guillet, S., Corona, C., Oppenheimer, C., Lavigne, F., Khodri, M., Ludlow, F., Sigl, M., Toohey, M., Atkins, P., Yang, Z., Muranaka, T., Horikawa, N., Stoffel, M., Lunar Eclipses Illuminate Timing and Climate Impact of Medieval Volcanism, NATURE, 616, 2023, p90 - 95, Notes: [Explosive volcanism is a key contributor to climate variability on interannual to centennial timescales. Understanding the far-field societal impacts of eruption-forced climatic changes requires firm event chronologies and reliable estimates of both the burden and altitude (that is, tropospheric versus stratospheric) of volcanic sulfate aerosol. However, despite progress in ice-core dating, uncertainties remain in these key factors. This particularly hinders investigation of the role of large, temporally clustered eruptions during the High Medieval Period (HMP, 1100"1300"CE), which have been implicated in the transition from the warm Medieval Climate Anomaly to the Little Ice Age. Here we shed new light on explosive volcanism during the HMP, drawing on analysis of contemporary reports of total lunar eclipses, from which we derive a time series of stratospheric turbidity. By combining this new record with aerosol model simulations and tree-ring-based climate proxies, we refine the estimated dates of five notable eruptions and associate each with stratospheric aerosol veils. Five further eruptions, including one responsible for high sulfur deposition over Greenland circa 1182"CE, affected only the troposphere and had muted climatic consequences. Our findings offer support for further investigation of the decadal-scale to centennial-scale climate response to volcanic eruptions.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Kostick, C., Hill, A., McGovern, R., Medenieks, S., Yang, Z., Ludlow, F., Vulkaanuitbarstingen in de Oudheid: Reacties op Plotselinge Klimaatschommelingen in de Eerste Acht Eeuwen voor Christus [Volcanic Eruptions in Antiquity: Responses to Sudden Climatic Variability in the First Eight Centuries BCE], Phoenix, 69, (1), 2023, p6 - 27, Notes: [Major eruptions can thus deliver climatic `shocks" often linked to famine, disease, and conflict. It is possible indeed to treat historical eruptions that induced sudden climatic changes as potential `revelatory crises" that tested the resilience and vulnerability of societies, exposing political, economic and ideological tensions and fault-lines that might otherwise have remained latent or hidden to us. With advances in ice-core science improving the dating of past eruptions, which are discernible in annual layers of polar ice when elevated sulphate levels are detected, and with advanced Earth System modelling recreating post-volcanic climate effects with ever greater detail, it has become possible to identify and extract insights from previously unrecognized co-occurrences between eruptions and periods of societal stress in the first millennium BCE.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL
Jobbova, E., McLeman, R., Crampsie, A., Murphy, C., Ludlow, F., Hevesi, C., Sente, L., Horvath, C., Institutional management and planning for droughts: a comparison of Ireland and Ontario, Canada, Biology and Environment, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 123, 2023, p1-24 , Notes: [Severe drought conditions in 2018 prompted concerted efforts by Irish authorities to establish a formal planning process for drought risks as part of the wider national water management strategy. More than two decades had passed since Ireland had experienced a socioeconomically significant drought, but recently reconstructed long-term data have shown that drought is a much more frequent hazard than previously thought. With climate change impacts likely to affect the temporal and spatial distribution of precipitation in coming decades, there is an ongoing need for further planning and preparation to reduce the vulnerability of the Irish water system to droughts. In this article we report results of a systematic comparison of Irish drought management plans and policies with those in southwestern Ontario, Canada, a region that shares many similar drought risk factors and management challenges but has longer established institutional practices for managing droughts. Key recommendations for Irish water managers emerging from this project include: fostering a culture of water conservation among the Irish public; using catchments as the spatial unit for drought monitoring and management decisions; creation of standing drought management teams that involve and broaden key stakeholders and user groups; and, further refining data collection to support planning for future challenges associated with climate change. Pursuing future opportunities for peer-to-peer learning between Irish water managers and their counterparts in other jurisdictions is a wider opportunity for developing best practices for drought management in the Irish context.], Journal Article, IN_PRESS  URL  URL
Hoyer, D., Bennett, J. S., Reddish, J., Holder, S., Howard, R., Benam, M., Levine, J., Ludlow, F., Feinman, G., Turchin, P. , Navigating Polycrisis: Long-Run Socio-Cultural Factors Shape Response to Changing Climate, PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 2023, p1-15 , Notes: [Climate variability and natural hazards like floods and earthquakes can act as environmental shocks or socioecological stressors leading to instability and suffering throughout human history. Yet, societies experience a wide range of outcomes when facing such challenges: some suffer from social unrest, civil violence, or complete collapse; others prove more resilient and maintain key social functions. We currently lack a clear, generally agreed-upon conceptual framework and evidentiary base to explore what causes these divergent outcomes. Here, we discuss efforts to develop such a framework through the Crisis Database (CrisisDB) programme. We illustrate that the impact of environmental stressors is mediated through extant cultural, political, and economic structures that evolve over extended timescales (decades to centuries). These structures can generate high resilience to major shocks, facilitate positive adaptation, or, alternatively, undermine collective action and lead to unrest, violence, and even societal collapse. By exposing the ways that different societies have reacted to crises over their lifetime, this framework can help identify the factors and complex social-ecological interactions that either bolster or undermine resilience to contemporary climate shocks.], Journal Article, IN_PRESS  DOI
The Irish Annals and Climate, Fifth to Seventeenth Centuries CE in, editor(s)Malcom Sen , Cambridge History of Irish Literature and the Environment , Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2022, pp52 - 78, [Conor Kostick & Francis Ludlow], Notes: [Ireland in the fifth century ce hosted a body of Christian scholars in monasteries that were comparatively undisturbed by the overrun of the Roman Empire by Germanic tribes. These scholars, at first writing in Latin, together with secular learned professionals were able to develop a literary culture that flourished over the centuries in the production of a variety of genres, such as hagiography, poetry, epic, and voyage tales or immrama. Here, our focus is on the emergence of an annalistic tradition, as the form of literature that perhaps most easily lends itself to an investigation of the relationship between Irish literature and the historical environment, though Saints" Lives and other literary forms might, despite the challenges involved in addressing them, also be valuable sources for insights into the relationship between society and the historical environment.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  URL  URL
Cowboys, Cod, Climate and Conflict: Navigations in the Digital Environmental Humanities in, editor(s)Charles Travis, Deborah Dixon, Luke Bergmann, Robert Legg, Arlene Crampsie , Routledge Handbook of the Digital Environmental Humanities, , London, Routledge, 2022, pp30 , [Charles Travis, Poul Holm, Francis Ludlow, Conor Kostick, Rhonda McGovern, John Nicholls], Notes: [Concerns of the DEH include, firstly, how we come to know " with masses of information becoming increasingly available in diverse forms and platform " and secondly, how we work " in collaborative, "glocally" scaled endeavours that integrate physical and virtual environments which are changing techniques, workflows, and the ontology of research and teaching practices " and thirdly, how we understand " as cybernetic tools and methodologies provide radically new insights into and integrations of "old analogue," "new digital," and "natural archival" types of data. These concerns inform the three DEH case studies featured in this chapter. The first offers a geo-literary eco-digital geo-hermeneutic on 19th-century US expansion and environmental degradation in the American West; the second offers a "data canon" precis on the North Atlantic "Fish Revolution" between 1500 and 1800; and the third features computer-automated readings of ancient astronomical diaries to analyse ancient relations between climate and conflict in the Fertile Crescent kingdoms of Babylon and Assyria.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Poul Holm, James Barrett, Cristina Brito & Francis Ludlow, New challenges for the Human Oceans Past agenda, Open Research Europe, 2, (114), 2022, p1-24 , Notes: [We contend that the harvest of marine resources played a critical, but as yet underappreciated and poorly understood, role in global history. In a review of the field of marine environmental history and archaeology we conclude that while much progress has been made, especially in the last two decades, fundamental questions remain unanswered. In order to make full use of the rapid growth of Big Data and ongoing methodological breakthroughs there is a need for collaborative and comparative research. Such joint efforts on a global scale must be guided by a focus on common, simple yet challenging, questions. We propose a Human Oceans Past research agenda to call for multi- and trans-disciplinary archaeological, historical and palaeoenvironmental/palaeoecological research to investigate: (1) when and where marine exploitation was of significance to human society; (2) how selected major socio-economic, cultural, and environmental forces variously constrained and enabled marine exploitation; and (3) what were the consequences of marine resource exploitation for societal development. We contend that this agenda will lead to a fundamental revision in our understanding of the historical role of marine resources in the development of human societies.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Stoffel, M., Corona, C., Ludlow, F., Sigl, M., Huhtamaa, H., Garnier, E., Helama, S., Guillet, S., Crampsie, A., Kleemann, K., Camenisch, C., McConnell, J. and Gao, C., Climatic, Weather and Socio-Economic Conditions Corresponding with the mid-17th Century Eruption Cluster, Climate of the Past, 18, (5), 2022, p1083 - 1108, Notes: [The mid-17th century is characterized by a cluster of explosive volcanic eruptions in the 1630s and 1640s, climatic conditions culminating in the Maunder Minimum, and political instability and famine in regions of western and northern Europe as well as China and Japan. This contribution investigates the sources of the eruptions of the 1630s and 1640s and their possible impact on contemporary climate using ice core, tree-ring, and historical evidence but will also look into the socio-political context in which they occurred and the human responses they may have triggered. Three distinct sulfur peaks are found in the Greenland ice core record in 1637, 1641"1642, and 1646. In Antarctica, only one unambiguous sulfate spike is recorded, peaking in 1642. The resulting bipolar sulfur peak in 1641"1642 can likely be ascribed to the eruption of Mount Parker (6""N, Philippines) on 26 December 1640, but sulfate emitted from Komaga-take (42""N, Japan) volcano on 31 July 1641 has potentially also contributed to the sulfate concentrations observed in Greenland at this time. The smaller peaks in 1637 and 1646 can be potentially attributed to the eruptions of Hekla (63""N, Iceland) and Shiveluch (56""N, Russia), respectively. To date, however, none of the candidate volcanoes for the mid-17th century sulfate peaks have been confirmed with tephra preserved in ice cores. Tree-ring and written sources point to cold conditions in the late 1630s and early 1640s in various parts of Europe and to poor harvests. Yet the early 17th century was also characterized by widespread warfare across Europe " and in particular the Thirty Years' War (1618"1648) " rendering any attribution of socio-economic crisis to volcanism challenging. In China and Japan, historical sources point to extreme droughts and famines starting in 1638 (China) and 1640 (Japan), thereby preceding the eruptions of Komaga-take (31 July 1640) and Mount Parker (4 January 1641). The case of the eruption cluster between 1637 and 1646 and the climatic and societal conditions recorded in its aftermath thus offer a textbook example of difficulties in (i) unambiguously distinguishing volcanically induced cooling, wetting, or drying from natural climate variability and (ii) attributing political instability, harvest failure, and famines solely to volcanic climatic impacts. This example shows that while the impacts of past volcanism must always be studied within the contemporary socio-economic contexts, it is also time to move past reductive framings and sometimes reactionary oppositional stances in which climate (and environment more broadly) either is or is not deemed an important contributor to major historical events.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL

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Singh, R., Kostas, T., LeGrande, A. N., Ludlow, F., Manning, J. G., Investigating Hydroclimatic Impacts of the 168"158"BCE Volcanic Quartet and their Relevance to the Nile River Basin and Egyptian History, Climate of the Past, 19, (1), 2023, p249 - 275, Notes: [This work is a modeling effort to investigate the hydroclimatic impacts of a volcanic quartet during 168"158"BCE over the Nile River basin in the context of Ancient Egypt's Ptolemaic era (305"30"BCE). The model simulated a robust surface cooling (~"1.0"1.5"°C), suppressing the African monsoon (deficit of >"1"mm"d"1 over East Africa) and agriculturally vital Nile summer flooding. Our result supports the hypothesized relation between volcanic eruptions, hydroclimatic shocks, and societal impacts.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Francis Ludlow, 'Testimony of an Irish Oak Tree', Weathered History, (Google Arts & Culture), Berlin, PAGES CRIAS with the Leibniz-Institute, 2021, -, Notes: [The material side of past climate change: Contemporary and historical climate change is, in itself, beyond the scale of human perception. What humans could see in the past and today still can perceive are meteorological extremes: droughts, heat waves, strong precipitation, floods, cold spells, and storms. Such extreme events, however, have generally left only indirect evidence in the material heritage of past human societies. This exhibition, a product of the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO) in cooperation with the PAGES's working group CRIAS, presents this legacy to a wider public. At times surprising objects are witnesses of human memory to meteorological disasters, but they also show how skillfully historical societies adapted to climate change. ], Exhibition, PUBLISHED
Conor Murphy, Robert 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 , EGU General Assembly 2020 Abstracts, 22nd EGU General Assembly, Online, 4-8 May, 2020, (id.5087), European Geophysical Union, 2021, pp2020EGUGA..22.5087M , 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...], Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Rhonda McGovern, Conor Kostick, Laura Farrelly, Francis Ludlow, Reconstructing the climate of Ancient Babylonia, 22nd EGU General Assembly, Abstracts, European Geophysical Union General Assembly 2020, Online, 4-8 May, 2020, (id.17417), European Geophysical Union, 2020, pp2020EGUGA..2217417M , Notes: [Ancient Babylonia is a kingdom / province in the Fertile Crescent in south-central Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). It has a rich textual and archaeological history and is the origin of many scientific and cultural advances, such as the definition of the seven-day week, the invention of zero, and many legal principles still underlying modern contract, tort, criminal, property, and family law. The Irish Research Council-funded "Climates of Conflict in Ancient Babylonia" (CLICAB) project aims to investigate climatic changes in Babylonia during the final eight centuries BCE and assess for linkages to patterns of violence and conflict, through the application of methods from historical climatology to the wealth of data available. ], Published Abstract, PUBLISHED
Francis Ludlow, Conor Kostick, Rhonda McGovern, Laura Farrelly, Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society in First Millennium BCE Babylonia, 22nd EGU General Assembly, Abstracts, European Geophysical Union General Assembly 2020, Online, 4-8 May, 2020, (id.22127), European Geophysical Union, 2020, pp2020EGUGA..2222127 , Notes: [This paper capitalizes upon the recent availability of much-improved ice-core chronologies of explosive volcanism for the first millennium BCE in combination with the remarkable record of meteorological data preserved in Babylonian astronomical diaries, written on cuneiform tablets spanning 652-61BC and now housed in the British Museum. These diaries comprise systematic economic data on agricultural prices, weather observations at an hourly resolution, river heights for the Euphrates and other phenomena. Our initial results reveal strong correspondences between multiple previously unrecognized accounts of solar dimming, extreme cold weather and major ice-core volcanic signals. We also observe anomalously high spring floods of the Euphrates at Babylon, following major tropical eruptions, which is consistent with climate modelling of anomalously elevated winter precipitation in the headwaters of the Euphrates and Tigris in northeastern Turkey...], Published Abstract, PUBLISHED
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
Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Allegra LeGrande, Francis Ludlow, Michael Sigl, Matthey Toohey, Celine M. Vidal, Volcanic impacts on climate and society during the Common Era, AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, USA, December 2019, (Abstract #PP43D-1633), American Geophysical Union, 2019, pp2019AGUFMPP43D1633A , Notes: [Prior to the recent rise in atmospheric CO 2 concentrations, volcanic eruptions were the most important climate forcing of the last 2000 years. Renewed interest in the physical and social consequences of eruptions over the last decade has been catalyzed by new paleoclimate observations, improvements in climate modeling, and the expanded use of historical and archaeological data. Here we review the last decade of research linking volcanic eruptions to climate and society. Armed with new and more precise reconstructions of past volcanic history, the associated radiative forcing, hemispheric and regional climate reconstructions, better models capable of more accurately representing atmospheric chemistry and dynamical changes associated with large eruptions, and increasingly quantitative measures of past societal changes, researchers are now more than ever before able to draw clear connections between volcanism, climate, and societies...], Published Abstract, 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, -, Notes: [In early 1918, just as the Great War was drawing to a close, a puzzling new disease emerged. It was not unexpected: war always brought disease into civilian populations, and the British War Office was carefully monitoring health in Britain and Ireland. As a Midland Reporter and Westmeath Nationalist journalist wrote on 15 July: 'It comes on many a wind of rumour. When we first heard it from Spain that more than six millions of Spaniards were down with influenza, we thought this is surely the pestilence at last.' The disease turned out not to be the feared plague, but an unseasonably early influenza, one which would go on to circle the globe in three to sometimes four devastating waves. It is known as the 'Spanish ' flu.], Exhibition, PUBLISHED
Francis Ludlow, Joseph Manning, Alexander Stine, William Boos, Michael Sigl, Jennifer Marlon, Benjamin Kelly, Gert Baetens, Volcanic suppression of Nile summer flooding triggers revolt and constrains interstate conflict in ancient Egypt , 20th EGU General Assembly, EGU2018, Proceedings from the conference held 4-13 April, 2018 in Vienna, Austria, European Geophysical Union General Assembly 2018, Vienna, Austria, 4-13 April, 2018, (2018EGUGA..2011164L), European Geophysical Union, 2018, pp11164 - 11164, Notes: [This paper presents and updates results from a recent study (Nature Communications, 8, 900 (2017), doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00957-y) by historians and natural scientists that demonstrates a link between Ancient Egyptian political history and Nile summer flood suppression via the impacts of volcanic eruptions on the African monsoon. We combine evidence from ice-core-based volcanic forcing data, climate modelling, and ancient papyri and inscriptions to illustrate the profound effects that volcanically induced Nile flood variability had on the political and economic stability of Ptolemaic Egypt, the most powerful state of the Hellenistic world...], Published Abstract, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
European Research Council Synergy Grant 2021-2027
Provost's Project Award, Trinity College Dublin 2018-2022
Irish Research Council Starting Laureate Award 2018-2022
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
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 2004-2007
IRCSET "EMBARK" Postgraduate Scholarship (Declined Offer) 2004
Trinity Postgraduate Studentship 2003-2004
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 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 (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). This study was published in Nature in 2015 (Sigl et al., 2015) and has over 626 citations (Google Scholar, as of March 2021). I then built upon this new volcanic history with a study in Nature Communications (Manning et al., 2017), which I co-led 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 next applied this understanding to questions concerning the causes of previously mysterious 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 stresses). This study received widespread attention, having an Altmetric score falling in the top 5% of all tracked research. It has also been the subject of a documentary that first aired on the Smithsonian Channel in January 2020, and was released worldwide 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.