Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change

Climate, weather, and water in history

Journal Article

This essay integrates the largely separate trajectories of climate and water histories, their distinct historiographies, and their different methods and expertise. Informed by the human‐nature insights of environmental history and historical geography, this paper identifies four intersections between histories of climate and water: first, conceptualizations of the climate and hydrological systems; second, adaptations to climate and hydrological variability and change; third, weather control; and finally, water over time. These particular intersections shed light on shared concerns for human relations to water and climate across different spatial and temporal scales; the development and function of networks of environmental knowledge; the formation and impact of environmental imaginaries; and the emergence of particular cultures of risk and resilience. The English‐language histories of climate and water to which I refer pertain largely to the study of the 19th and 20th centuries in relation to the spread of European and North American empires. Histories of water, I argue, offer more personal and localized insights into histories of climate and climate change. This article is categorized under: Climate, History, Society, Culture > World Historical Perspectives

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