Droughts over centuries: what can documentary evidence tell us about drought variability, severity and human responses?
Droughts over centuries: what can documentary evidence tell us about drought variability, severity and human responses?
Editor(s): R. Brazdil, A. Kiss, G. Blöschl, S. Grab, and J. Luterbacher
Droughts are among the most significant natural phenomena. Induced by a lack of precipitation and intensified by other factors, they are primarily expressed as meteorological droughts that impact surface and subsurface water (hydrological droughts), agriculture (agricultural droughts) and socio-economic activities (socio-economic droughts). In the instrumental period, droughts can be described by various drought indices. In pre-instrumental times they can be studied based on various types of documentary evidence, including narrative sources (annals, chronicles, memoirs), visual and early weather observations, ecclesiastic evidence, economic sources, newspapers, old prints, epigraphic sources etc. All these data sources offer very rich qualitative or quantitative information of past droughts given in the form of either direct information about meteorological conditions or indirect information about the availability of water or various impacts on society. The main aim of the special issue is to provide a concise overview of recent historical drought research around the world based on documentary data with a truly interdisciplinary character, involving historians, geographers, hydrologists, climatologists, hydrometeorologists or environmental scientists, amongst others. Investigations carried out on regional, supra-regional or global scales and covering various parts of the past millennium are welcomed. They may include the construction of long-term drought chronologies and case studies of outstanding drought events. The papers may focus on various aspects of droughts in the past, including their long-term variability, seasonality, frequency, magnitude, forcings and synoptic controls, impacts on human society, and human responses to droughts. The verification and extension of existing datasets, the application and comparison of different historical source types, and the development of new drought series in different parts of the world are also welcome topics of this special issue.

The special issue is open to all relevant drought studies based on documentary evidence.

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01 Oct 2021
Documentary evidence of droughts in Sweden between the Middle Ages and ca. 1800 CE
Lotta Leijonhufvud and Dag Retsö
Clim. Past, 17, 2015–2029, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-17-2015-2021,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-17-2015-2021, 2021
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23 Apr 2021
Controlling water infrastructure and codifying water knowledge: institutional responses to severe drought in Barcelona (1620–1650)
Santiago Gorostiza, Maria Antònia Martí Escayol, and Mariano Barriendos
Clim. Past, 17, 913–927, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-17-913-2021,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-17-913-2021, 2021
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25 Nov 2020
A prequel to the Dantean Anomaly: the precipitation seesaw and droughts of 1302 to 1307 in Europe
Martin Bauch, Thomas Labbé, Annabell Engel, and Patric Seifert
Clim. Past, 16, 2343–2358, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-2343-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-2343-2020, 2020
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12 Nov 2020
Droughts in Bern and Rouen from the 14th to the beginning of the 18th century derived from documentary evidence
Chantal Camenisch and Melanie Salvisberg
Clim. Past, 16, 2173–2182, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-2173-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-2173-2020, 2020
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09 Nov 2020
Central Europe, 1531–1540 CE: The driest summer decade of the past five centuries?
Rudolf Brázdil, Petr Dobrovolný, Martin Bauch, Chantal Camenisch, Andrea Kiss, Oldřich Kotyza, Piotr Oliński, and Ladislava Řezníčková
Clim. Past, 16, 2125–2151, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-2125-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-2125-2020, 2020
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20 Oct 2020
Reassessing long-term drought risk and societal impacts in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, north-east China (1200–2015)
LingYun Tang, Neil Macdonald, Heather Sangster, Richard Chiverrell, and Rachel Gaulton
Clim. Past, 16, 1917–1935, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1917-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1917-2020, 2020
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28 Sep 2020
Low water stage marks on hunger stones: verification for the Elbe from 1616 to 2015
Libor Elleder, Ladislav Kašpárek, Jolana Šírová, and Tomáš Kabelka
Clim. Past, 16, 1821–1846, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1821-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1821-2020, 2020
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10 Jul 2020
Reconstructions of droughts in Germany since 1500 – combining hermeneutic information and instrumental records in historical and modern perspectives
Rüdiger Glaser and Michael Kahle
Clim. Past, 16, 1207–1222, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1207-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1207-2020, 2020
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12 Jun 2020
A survey of the impact of summer droughts in southern and eastern England, 1200–1700
Kathleen Pribyl
Clim. Past, 16, 1027–1041, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1027-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1027-2020, 2020
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02 Jun 2020
Historical droughts in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) of China
Kuan-Hui Elaine Lin, Pao K. Wang, Pi-Ling Pai, Yu-Shiuan Lin, and Chih-Wei Wang
Clim. Past, 16, 911–931, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-911-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-911-2020, 2020
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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
Clim. Past, 16, 679–697, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-679-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-679-2020, 2020
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01 Apr 2020
Droughts in the area of Poland in recent centuries in the light of multi-proxy data
Rajmund Przybylak, Piotr Oliński, Marcin Koprowski, Janusz Filipiak, Aleksandra Pospieszyńska, Waldemar Chorążyczewski, Radosław Puchałka, and Henryk Paweł Dąbrowski
Clim. Past, 16, 627–661, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-627-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-627-2020, 2020
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13 Jan 2020
Patterns in data of extreme droughts/floods and harvest grades derived from historical documents in eastern China during 801–1910
Zhixin Hao, Maowei Wu, Jingyun Zheng, Jiewei Chen, Xuezhen Zhang, and Shiwei Luo
Clim. Past, 16, 101–116, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-101-2020,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-101-2020, 2020
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17 Oct 2019
The extreme drought of 1842 in Europe as described by both documentary data and instrumental measurements
Rudolf Brázdil, Gaston R. Demarée, Andrea Kiss, Petr Dobrovolný, Kateřina Chromá, Miroslav Trnka, Lukáš Dolák, Ladislava Řezníčková, Pavel Zahradníček, Danuta Limanowka, and Sylvie Jourdain
Clim. Past, 15, 1861–1884, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1861-2019,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1861-2019, 2019
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11 Oct 2019
A comparison of drought information in early North American colonial documentary records and a high-resolution tree-ring-based reconstruction
Sam White
Clim. Past, 15, 1809–1824, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1809-2019,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1809-2019, 2019
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02 Sep 2019
Rogation ceremonies: a key to understanding past drought variability in northeastern Spain since 1650
Ernesto Tejedor, Martín de Luis, Mariano Barriendos, José María Cuadrat, Jürg Luterbacher, and Miguel Ángel Saz
Clim. Past, 15, 1647–1664, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1647-2019,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1647-2019, 2019
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10 Jul 2019
The weather behind words – new methodologies for integrated hydrometeorological reconstruction through documentary sources
Salvador Gil-Guirado, Juan José Gómez-Navarro, and Juan Pedro Montávez
Clim. Past, 15, 1303–1325, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1303-2019,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1303-2019, 2019
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29 Apr 2019
Long-term variability of drought indices in the Czech Lands and effects of external forcings and large-scale climate variability modes
Jiří Mikšovský, Rudolf Brázdil, Miroslav Trnka, and Petr Pišoft
Clim. Past, 15, 827–847, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-827-2019,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-827-2019, 2019
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07 Jan 2019
Extreme droughts and human responses to them: the Czech Lands in the pre-instrumental period
Rudolf Brázdil, Petr Dobrovolný, Miroslav Trnka, Ladislava Řezníčková, Lukáš Dolák, and Oldřich Kotyza
Clim. Past, 15, 1–24, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1-2019,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1-2019, 2019
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11 Dec 2018
Documentary data and the study of past droughts: a global state of the art
Rudolf Brázdil, Andrea Kiss, Jürg Luterbacher, David J. Nash, and Ladislava Řezníčková
Clim. Past, 14, 1915–1960, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1915-2018,https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1915-2018, 2018
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