Kathleen Pribyl

Kathleen Pribyl
University of East Anglia | UEA · Climatic Research Unit

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38
Publications
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Introduction
Kathleen Pribyl is an associate fellow at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK. She has a background in medieval and environmental history and holds a PhD from the University in Bern, Switzerland, for which she received the Eduard Adolf Stein Award 2012. Her interests lie in environmental, economic and agricultural history and in particular in the vulnerability of pre-industrial societies to environmental risk.

Publications

Publications (38)
Book
Full-text available
This volume investigates environmental and political crises that occurred in Europe during the late Middle Ages and the early Modern Period, and considers their effects on people’s lives. At this time, the fragile human existence was imagined as a ‘Dance of Death’, where anyone, regardless of social status or age, could perish unexpectedly. This bo...
Article
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A global inventory of early instrumental meteorological measurements is compiled that comprises thousands of mostly nondigitized series, pointing to the potential of weather data rescue.
Article
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During the second half of the 1890s, south-eastern Africa was hit by a drought-driven ecological crisis. Using records previously unexploited for climate and climate impact research, and which cover the area from modern-day Zimbabwe and Botswana to eastern South Africa, this study explores the complexity of this crisis through an analysis of the sp...
Article
A barley crop in Sheringham, Norfolk showing signs of drought stress brought on by the dry conditions experienced in the growing season 2011. As with modern varieties, old barley varieties were liable to suffer from drought.
Article
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Instrumental meteorological measurements from periods prior to the start of national weather services are designated “early instrumental data.” They have played an important role in climate research as they allow daily to decadal variability and changes of temperature, pressure, and precipitation, including extremes, to be addressed. Early instrume...
Article
The extreme conditions of the summer season in 2018 in England gave rise to comparisons with earlier drought events. Using the information provided by documentary records, such as chronicles, accounts and diaries, this paper investigates extreme summer droughts in the period 1200–1700, and their impacts under the conditions of natural climate varia...
Article
Full-text available
Single- to multiple-year drought episodes posed significant challenges for agrarian communities across southern Africa during the nineteenth century and hence are widely recorded in a variety of historical documents. However, the ways in which droughts are articulated, and the focus of individual accounts, vary considerably between different author...
Article
This work comes to fill a fundamental gap in the history of Central American extreme climatic events by putting together qualitative and quantitative historical data and reanalysis information (the 20CR project) for the reconstruction of meteorological events associated with the floods that destroyed Cartago City in Costa Rica on October 27, 1891....
Article
Changing climates affect human societies differently depending on societal structures, cultural perceptions and their relative vulnerability and resilience. In this study, we explore the complex relationship between climate, conflict and society in nineteenth century Zululand. The paper first reviews current debates surrounding the links between cl...
Chapter
The grain harvest was little changed from the Late Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. This is demonstrated in this chapter through an analysis of information contained in a selection of eighteenth and nineteenth-century farming diaries from across Norfolk. Even though the county was at the forefront of the agricultural revolution and one of the...
Chapter
The documentary sources, manorial accounts, employed throughout this book come from northern East Anglia, mostly from Norfolk, and were drawn up for the estates of a number of medieval landowners. Manorial accounts record the revenues and expenses of a manor as well as the strategies used in the agricultural and pastoral sectors and their outcome....
Chapter
This chapter acts as a catalogue for extremely hot and cold spring/summer seasons in late medieval England. For the years of extremely high or low reconstructed East Anglian April–July mean temperatures independent evidence on weather from documentary sources from the British Isles and the climate information for the Low Countries is assembled. The...
Chapter
The Late Middle Ages were a time of crisis. The heaviest blows were concentrated in the fourteenth century which saw the blossom of the High Middle Ages wither: the Great Famine 1315–1317 was followed by the Great Pestilence 1348–1349. Population numbers declined rapidly, and England’s demographic development became mortality driven. At the same ti...
Chapter
The length of the grain harvest reflects the amount and frequency of rainfall during the harvest. The aim is always to harvest as speedily as possible for reducing the risk of the standing corn to the vagaries of the weather. However, the duration of the harvest is also linked to the availability of labour, the bulk of the harvest and the harvestin...
Chapter
The April–July mean temperature reconstruction 1256–1431 is the earliest temperature reconstruction using documentary data and so far the only summer temperature reconstruction for the British Isles. It is based on the calibration-verification approach. The medieval grain harvest dates are complemented by the modern comparison series from Langham,...
Chapter
This chapter investigates the relationship between climate, phenological state of the crop and the grain harvest. Only under exceptional circumstances as during plagues or in times of war might the phenological signal in the grain harvest be disturbed. The grain harvest constituted the climax of the agricultural calendar and would provide the peopl...
Chapter
In this chapter the relationship between the grain price and the weather conditions as represented by the April–July mean temperature reconstruction and the July–September precipitation index are investigated for late medieval England. The wheat price is used as an indicator for the general pricing of the grain. As the temperature reconstruction ha...
Chapter
This chapter investigates the role of temperature and precipitation in the outbreaks of plague in late medieval England. For allowing a meaningful quantitative analysis the time frame is extended to 1500; well-known major plague outbreaks are listed and the evidence for the less well studied plague waves, particularly those of the fifteenth century...
Chapter
Summing up the work of this book, the last chapter demonstrates how in late medieval England climate acted as a driver of mortality crises within the given biological, demographic and socio-economic framework. While wet and cold spring-summer seasons raised the risk for harvest failure, particularly as long as population pressure was high, dry and...
Chapter
Extremely wet and dry July–September periods are catalogued in this chapter. For the contextualisation of the rainfall extremes independent documentary information from the British Isles and climate data from the Low Countries is used. The influence of high and low rainfall levels on agricultural production and the development of subsistence crisis...
Book
This book is situated at the cross-roads of environmental, agricultural and economic history and climate science. It investigates the climatic background for the two most significant risk factors for life in the crisis-prone England of the Later Middle Ages: subsistence crisis and plague. Based on documentary data from eastern England, the late med...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in climate affected human societies throughout the last millennium. While European cold periods in the 17th and 18th century have been assessed in detail, earlier cold periods received much less attention due to sparse information available. New evidence from proxy archives, historical documentary sources and climate model simulations permi...
Article
Full-text available
Throughout the last millennium, mankind was affected by prolonged deviations from the climate mean state. While periods like the Maunder Minimum in the 17th century have been assessed in greater detail, earlier cold periods such as the 15th century received much less attention due to the sparse information available. Based on new evidence from diff...
Article
Full-text available
Analyses of historical patterns of rainfall variability are essential for understanding long-term changes in precipitation timing and distribution. Focussing on former Natal and Zululand (now KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa), this study presents the first combined annual and seasonal reconstruction of rainfall variability over southeast Africa for the...
Article
Tropical cyclones (TCs) represent the most significant natural hazard for the economy and population of Madagascar. Planning for the impacts of future cyclone strikes requires a detailed understanding of the frequency of destructive storms in the past. In this paper, we utilise historical documentary materials to construct an initial framework of T...
Article
Full-text available
The heat waves of 2003 in Western Europe and 2010 in Russia, commonly labelled as rare climatic anomalies outside of previous experience, are often taken as harbingers of more frequent extremes in the global warming-influenced future. However, a recent reconstruction of spring-summer temperatures for WE resulted in the likelihood of significantly h...
Article
Full-text available
The heat waves of 2003 in Western Europe and 2010 in Russia, commonly labelled as rare climatic anomalies outside of previous experience, are often taken as harbingers of more frequent extremes in the global warming-influenced future. However, a recent Climatic Change (2014) 125:349-363 351 weather report sources originating from an area of 2 to 3...
Article
This paper presents the first annually resolved temperature reconstruction for England in the Middle Ages. To effect this reconstruction the starting date of the grain harvest in Norfolk has been employed as a temperature proxy. Using c. 1,000 manorial accounts from Norfolk, 616 dates indicating the onset of the grain harvest were extracted for the...
Article
Full-text available
The date of the grain harvest in pre-industrial times was largely dependent upon mean spring and early summer temperatures. It thus constitutes a valuable source of information that helps to reconstruct these temperatures. The later the harvest began, the cooler the spring and early summer must have been. The work presented here uses a new data ser...

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