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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-90
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-90
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  22 Jul 2020

22 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Evaluating the utility of qualitative data in precipitation reconstruction in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Alice Harvey-Fishenden and Neil Macdonald Alice Harvey-Fishenden and Neil Macdonald
  • Geography and Planning, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 7ZT, UK

Abstract. To date few studies have reconstructed weather from personal diaries. In this paper, we consider different methods of indexing daily weather information, specifically precipitation, from eighteenth and nineteenth century personal diaries. We examine whether there is a significant correlation between indexed weather information and local instrumental records for the period, thereby assessing the potential of discursive materials in reconstructing precipitation series. We demonstrate the potential for the use of diaries that record weather incidentally rather than as the primary purpose, and the value and utility of diaries which cover short periods when used alongside nearby contemporary diaries. We show that using multiple overlapping personal diaries can help to produce a more objective record of the weather, overcoming some of the challenges of working with qualitative data. This paper demonstrates indices derived from such qualitative sources can create valuable records of precipitation. There is the potential to repeat the methodology described here using earlier material, or material from further away from extant instrumental records, thereby addressing spatial and temporal gaps in current knowledge globally.

Alice Harvey-Fishenden and Neil Macdonald

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Alice Harvey-Fishenden and Neil Macdonald

Alice Harvey-Fishenden and Neil Macdonald

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Latest update: 28 Oct 2020
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Short summary
This paper evaluates the use of qualitative data in precipitation reconstruction, demonstrating the utility of personal diaries and value of multiple overlapping diaries for producing a more objective record. It demonstrates that indices derived from such qualitative sources can create valuable records of precipitation, with potential for this methodology to be applied to earlier material or where there is no extant instrumental records to address spatial and temporal gaps in knowledge.
This paper evaluates the use of qualitative data in precipitation reconstruction, demonstrating...
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