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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-2019-114
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-114
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 19 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 19 Sep 2019

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

Droughts in Bern and in Rouen from the 14th to the beginning of the 18th century derived from documentary evidence

Chantal Camenisch1,2 and Melanie Salvisberg1,2 Chantal Camenisch and Melanie Salvisberg
  • 1Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of History, Section of Economic, Social and Environmental History, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. Droughts derive from a deficit of precipitation and belong to the most dangerous natural hazards for human societies. Documentary data of the pre-modern and early modern times contain direct and indirect information on precipitation that allow the production of reconstructions with the methods of historical climatology. For this study, two drought indices have been created on the basis of documentary data produced in Bern, Switzerland (DIB) and in Rouen, France (DIR) for the period from 1315 to 1715. These two indices have been compared to a third supra-regional drought index for Switzerland (SDI), Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium synthesised from precipitation reconstruction based on historical climatology. The results of the study show that the documentary data from Bern mainly contain summer droughts, whereas the data from Rouen rather allow the reconstruction of spring droughts. The comparison of the three indices shows that the DIB and the DIR most probably do not contain all actual drought events, but they also detect droughts that do not appear in the SDI. This fact suggests that more documentary data from single places, such as historical city archives, should be examined in the future and added to larger reconstructions in order to obtain more complete drought reconstructions.

Chantal Camenisch and Melanie Salvisberg
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Chantal Camenisch and Melanie Salvisberg
Chantal Camenisch and Melanie Salvisberg
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Short summary
Droughts derive from a deficit of precipitation and belong to the most dangerous natural hazards for human societies. Documentary data of the pre-modern and early modern times contain direct and indirect information on precipitation that allow the production of reconstructions with the methods of historical climatology. For this study, two drought indices have been created on the basis of documentary data produced in Bern, Switzerland and in Rouen, France for the period from 1315 to 1715.
Droughts derive from a deficit of precipitation and belong to the most dangerous natural hazards...
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