Articles | Volume 16, issue 2
Clim. Past, 16, 679–697, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-679-2020

Special issue: Droughts over centuries: what can documentary evidence tell...

Clim. Past, 16, 679–697, 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-679-2020

Research article 06 Apr 2020

Research article | 06 Apr 2020

“Everything is scorched by the burning sun”: missionary perspectives and experiences of 19th- and early 20th-century droughts in semi-arid central Namibia

Stefan Grab and Tizian Zumthurm

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Cited articles

Agnew, C. T. and Chappell, A.: Drought in the Sahel, GeoJournal, 48, 299–311, 1999. 
Arnold, S., Attinger, S., Frank, K., Baxter, P., Possingham, H., and Hildebrandt, A.: Ecosystem management along ephemeral rivers: Trading off socio-economic water supply and vegetation conservation under flood regime uncertainty, River Res. Appl., 32, 219-233, https://doi.org/10.1002/rra.2853, 2016. 
Ballard, C.: Drought and Economic Distress: South Africa in the 1800s, J. Interdiscipl. Hist., 17, 359–378, 1986. 
Brázdil, R., Kiss, A., Luterbacher, J., Nash, D. J., and Řezníčková, L.: Documentary data and the study of past droughts: a global state of the art, Clim. Past, 14, 1915–1960, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1915-2018, 2018. 
Brázdil, R., Demarée, G. R., Kiss, A., Dobrovolný, P., Chromá, K., Trnka, M., Dolák, L., Řezníčková, L., Zahradníček, P., Limanowka, D., and Jourdain, S.: The extreme drought of 1842 in Europe as described by both documentary data and instrumental measurements, Clim. Past, 15, 1861–1884, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1861-2019, 2019. 
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Here we describe the unique nature of droughts over semi-arid central Namibia (southern Africa) between 1850 and 1920. We establish temporal shifts in the influence and impact that historical droughts had on society and the environment during this period. The paper demonstrates and argues that human experience and the associated reporting of drought events depend strongly on social, environmental, spatial, and societal developmental situations and perspectives.