Filosofian tohtori Norrgård Stefan

144000 €

Climate, culture, and society. The Climatic History of Finland during the 18th Century

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kolmivuotinen

Was climate ‘a cause’ or ‘the cause’ to the plagues, harvest failures, and political crises that characterised Finland in the 18th century? Attempts to answer this question appeared in the 1980s and 1990s, but the attempts fell short due to the lack of climate series. Since then, climate history and cultural history have commonly been written separately. However, in the 21st century, global warming created a need for an improved understanding of historical climates. This has resulted in various types of climate series examining climatic development in different parts of Finland during the 18th century. CLiCS will use these series to compile a climatic chronology and examine what part climate played in the cultural history of Finland during the 18th century. Observations of extreme events (e.g. droughts, forest fires, ice jam floods) found in historical records such as personal diaries, letters and official reports are included to examine how societies adopted and reacted to climatic stress. A scientific revolution emerged during the Enlightenment and the 18th century became a key period in the birth of climatology and meteorology. Meteorological instruments became readily available, which caused a scientific curiosity regarding the benefits arising from the possibility to predict future weather patterns. In the epicentre of this scientific revolution was Professor Johan Leche (1704–1764), whose studies gave birth to two long-term climate series. Leche was one of several pioneering scientists, but he has managed to escape the magnifying glass of environmental historians. CLiCS will examine Leche by placing him in the cultural and scientific context of climate history, ideas, and climate sciences. CLiCS is an interdisciplinary project that will bridge the gap between history and the natural sciences. The objective will be to create a novel interpretation of the climatic and cultural history of Finland during the 18th century.