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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Nov 2018

Research article | 29 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

A 500-year multi-proxy drought reconstruction for the Czech Lands

Petr Dobrovolný1,2, Rudolf Brázdil1,2, Miroslav Trnka2,3, Michal Rybníček2,4, Tomáš Kolář2,4, Martin Možný5, Tomáš Kyncl6, and Ulf Büntgen1,2,7,8 Petr Dobrovolný et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 2Global Change Research Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 3Department of Agrosystems and Bioclimatology, Mendel University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 4Department of Wood Science, Mendel University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 5Doksany Observatory, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Doksany, Czech Republic
  • 6Moravian Dendro-Labor, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 7Department of Geography, University of Cambridge,UK
  • 8Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland

Abstract. Any proxy archive related to climate has inherent advantages and disadvantages. What have become known as the multi-proxy approaches therefore constitute the cutting edge of paleoclimatology, as they are capable of providing more complete pictures of past climatic changes. This contribution combines tree-ring width chronologies, grape harvest dates and documentary-based precipitation indices from the territory of the Czech Republic to reconstruct inter-annual to multi-decadal drought variability, as expressed by Z-index, back to AD 1501. Using Principle Component Analysis and simple linear regression, the multi-proxy record explains 70 % of April–July drought variability between 1805 and 1854. It is demonstrated that the relatively short calibration period of early instrumental measurements, from 1805 to 1854, does not influence the quality of this reconstruction, and that the regression approach does not underestimate drought extremes. While reflecting a considerable amount of inter-annual spring-summer drought variability, the new Z-index reconstruction does not capture any long-term trends beyond the multi-decadal domain. The driest (1616) and the wettest (1713) years match previously published hydroclimate reconstructions from the same region, whereas the driest and wettest 30-year periods occurred in 1998–2017 and 1890–1919 respectively. Thus central Europe has recently experienced the most severe decadal-scale late spring–early summer drought of the past 500 years. The new multi-proxy drought reconstruction demonstrated progress beyond previous single-proxy attempts at establishing the strength of hydroclimate signal.

Petr Dobrovolný et al.
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Petr Dobrovolný et al.
Petr Dobrovolný et al.
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Short summary
Careful selection of available moisture-sensitive proxies resulted in a new reconstruction of short-term drought over the Czech Republic during the last 500 years. It consists of a synthesis of four different proxies and its high reconstruction skill demonstrates the clear advantage of a multi-proxy approach. The new chronology of Z-index shows that central Europe experienced the most severe 30-year late spring–early summer period of drought for the last 500 years.
Careful selection of available moisture-sensitive proxies resulted in a new reconstruction of...