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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Over the last 600 years, Sweden has occasionally suffered from severe summer droughts. But droughts caused by extreme heat is uncommon. Rather, it is usually caused by lack of rain. From historical documents it can be confirmed that such drought periods, with substantial consequences for agriculture and mining activities, have occurred on repeated occasions between the Middle Ages and 1800, coinciding with a slightly colder climate and other social strains in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-25
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-25

  06 Apr 2020

06 Apr 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Documentary evidence of droughts in Sweden between the Middle Ages and c1800

Dag Retsö1 and Lotta Leijonhufvud2 Dag Retsö and Lotta Leijonhufvud
  • 1Dept. of Economic History and International Relations, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • 2Dept. of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Abstract. This article explores documentary evidence of droughts in Sweden in the pre-instrumental period (1400–1800). The database has been developed using contemporary sources such as private and official correspondence letters, diaries, almanac notes, manorial accounts, and weather data compilations. The primary purpose is to utilize hitherto unused documentary data as an input for an index that can be useful for comparisons on a larger European scale.

The survey shows that eight sub-periods can be considered as particularly struck by summer droughts with concomitant harvest failures and great social impacts in Sweden. That is the case with 1634–1641, 1652–1657, 1665–1670, 1677–1684, 1746–1750, 1757–1767, 1771–1776 and 1780–1783 and 1641–1646. Among these, 1652 and 1657 stand out as particularly troublesome. A number of data for dry summers are also found for the middle decades of the 15th century and the 1550s.

Dag Retsö and Lotta Leijonhufvud

 
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Dag Retsö and Lotta Leijonhufvud

Dag Retsö and Lotta Leijonhufvud

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Short summary
Over the last 600 years, Sweden has occasionally suffered from severe summer droughts. But droughts caused by extreme heat is uncommon. Rather, it is usually caused by lack of rain. From historical documents it can be confirmed that such drought periods, with substantial consequences for agriculture and mining activities, have occurred on repeated occasions between the Middle Ages and 1800, coinciding with a slightly colder climate and other social strains in the 17th and 18th centuries.
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