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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-2019-115
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-115
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 07 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 07 Oct 2019

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

Historical droughts in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) of China and the role of human interventions

Kuan-Hui Elaine Lin1, Pao K. Wang2, Pi-Ling Pai3, Yu-Shiuan Lin2, and Chih-Wei Wang2 Kuan-Hui Elaine Lin et al.
  • 1Graduate Institute of Environmental Education, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 3Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Abstract. This study presents a new epistemology to analyze drought chronology through a clear-cut methodology for reconstructing past drought series as well as series for other associated ecological and societal variables. Instead of building grading system based on mixed criteria, this method can facilitate transparency in the reconstruction process and can enable statistical examinations of all variables when building the series. The data used is from the REACHES database, however other archival documentary and index data from independent sources are also applied to understand drought narratives and to cross check and validate the analysis derived from the REACHES. From time series analysis, six severe drought periods are identified in the Qing dynasty, and then spatial analysis is performed to demonstrate spatial distribution of drought and other variables in the six periods as well as social network analysis to reveal connections between drought and other ecological and societal variables. Research results clearly illustrate the role of human intervention to influence the impacts of drought on societal consequences. Particularly, the correlation between drought and socioeconomic is not strong; crop failure and famine are important intermediate factors, meanwhile ecological factor such as locust and disaster relief measures are all imperative to intervene between crop production and famine. Implications of the study on drought impact in provided as well as its significance on historical climatology reconstruction studies.

Kuan-Hui Elaine Lin et al.
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Short summary
This study reconstructs drought chronology of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) based on the Chinese documentary records from the REACHES database. In addition to drought records, ecological and societal records are also retrieved. Tests are performed to cross check data and time series. Six severe drought periods are identified and spatial patterns are revealed through multivariable analysis. Drought consequence networks are built highlighting human intervention to modify famine and social turmoil.
This study reconstructs drought chronology of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) based on the Chinese...
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