Social vulnerability to climate in the "Little Ice Age": an example from Central Europe in the early 1770s
- 1Institute of History/NCCR Climate, University of Bern, Unitobler, CH-3000 Bern 9, Switzerland
- 2Institute of Geography, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, CZ-611 37 Brno, The Czech Republic
Abstract. The paper is oriented on social vulnerability to climate in Switzerland and in the Czech Lands during the early 1770s. Documentary sources of climate related to man-made archives are discussed. Methods of temperature and precipitation reconstruction based on this evidence as well as climate impact analyses are presented. Modelling of Little Ice Age-type Impacts (LIATIMP) is applied to highlight climate impacts during the period 1750–1800 in the Swiss Plateau and in the Czech Lands. LIATIMP are defined as adverse climate situations affecting agricultural production, mainly in terms of rainy autumns, cold springs and rainy harvest-periods. The most adverse weather patterns according to this model occurred from 1769 to 1771 causing two, in the case of the Czech Lands even three successive harvest failures. The paper addresses the social and economic consequences of this accumulation of climatic stress and explores how the authorities and the victims dealt with this situation.