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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-1
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-1
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Jan 2019

Research article | 09 Jan 2019

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

The weather behind the words. New methodologies for integrated hydrometeorological reconstruction through documentary sources

Salvador Gil-Guirado1,2, Juan José Gómez-Navarro3, and Juan Pedro Montávez3 Salvador Gil-Guirado et al.
  • 1Interuniversity Institute of Geography, University of Alicante, P.O. Box 99, 03080 Alicante, Spain
  • 2Department of Geography, University of Murcia, Campus de la Merced, 30001 Murcia, Spain
  • 3Department of Physics, University of Murcia, Campus de Espinardo (Faculty of Chemistry), 30100 Murcia, Spain

Abstract. The historical climatology has remarkable potentialities to produce climatic reconstructions with high temporal resolution. However, there are methodological limitations that hinder the spatial development of this discipline. This study presents a new approach to Historical Climatology that overcomes some of the limitations of classical approaches such as the Rogations Method or the Content Analysis: the Cost Opportunity for Small Towns (COST). It analyses historical documents and takes advantage of all sort of meteorological information available in the written documents, not only the most severe events, thereby overcoming the most prominent bottleneck of former approaches. COST relies on the fact that the use paper had a high cost, so its use to describe meteorological conditions is hypothesized to be proportional to the impact they had on society. To prove the validity of this approach to reconstruct climate conditions, this article uses exemplarily the Municipal Chapter Acts of a small town in Southern Spain (Caravaca de la Cruz), which span the period 1600–1900, and allow to obtain reconstructions with monthly resolution. Using the same documentary source, the three approaches have been used to derive respective climate reconstructions, which are then compared to assess the consistency of the climate signal and identify possible caveats in the methods. The three approaches lead to generally coherent series of secular variability in the hydrological conditions and that agree well with the results pointed out by previous studies. Still, COST approach is arguably more objective and less affected by changes in the societal behavior, which allows it to perform comparative studies in regions with different languages and traditions.

Salvador Gil-Guirado et al.
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Salvador Gil-Guirado et al.
Salvador Gil-Guirado et al.
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Short summary
The historical climatology has remarkable research potentialities. However, this discipline there are methodological limitations. This study presents a new methodology that allows us to perform climate reconstructions with monthly resolution. The variability of the climatic series obtained are coherent with previous studies. The new proposed method is objective and is not affected by social changes, which allows it to perform comparative studies in regions with different languages and cultures.
The historical climatology has remarkable research potentialities. However, this discipline...
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