Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-169
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-169

  03 Dec 2021

03 Dec 2021

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

A Bayesian Approach to Historical Climatology for the Burgundian Low Countries in the 15th Century

Chantal Camenisch1,2, Fernando Jaume-Santero1,3,4, Sam White5, Qing Pei6, Ralf Hand1,7, Christian Rohr1,2, and Stefan Brönnimann1,7 Chantal Camenisch et al.
  • 1Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of History, Section of Economic, Social and Environmental History, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • 4Haute école de gestion de Genève, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Switzerland
  • 5Department of History, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
  • 6Department of Social Sciences, Education University of Hong Kong, China
  • 7Institute of Geography, Climate Unit, University of Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. Although collaborative efforts have been made to retrieve climate data from instrumental observations and paleoclimate records, there is still a large amount of valuable information in historical archives that has not been utilized for climate reconstruction. Due to the qualitative nature of these datasets, historical texts have been compiled and studied by historians aiming to describe the climate impact in socio-economical aspects of human societies, but the inclusion of this information in past climate reconstructions remains fairly unexplored. Within this context, we present a novel approach to assimilate climate information contained in chronicles and annals from the 15th century to generate robust temperature and precipitation reconstructions of the Burgundian Low Countries, taking into account uncertainties associated with the descriptions of narrative sources. After data assimilation, our reconstructions present a high seasonal temperature correlation of ∼0.8 independently of the climate model employed to estimate the background state of the atmosphere. Our study aims to be a first step towards a more quantitative use of available information contained in historical texts, showing how Bayesian inference can help the climate community with this endeavour.

Chantal Camenisch et al.

Status: open (until 28 Jan 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-169', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Dec 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2021-169', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Jan 2022 reply

Chantal Camenisch et al.

Data sets

A Bayesian Approach to Historical Climatology for the Burgundian Low Countries in the 15th Century Chantal Camenisch, Fernando Jaume-Santero, Sam White, Qing Pei, Ralf Hand, Christian Rohr, Stefan Bronnimann https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.17088911.v1

Chantal Camenisch et al.

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Short summary
We present a novel approach to assimilate climate information contained in chronicles and annals from the 15th century to generate climate reconstructions of the Burgundian Low Countries, taking into account uncertainties associated with the descriptions of narrative sources. Our study aims to be a first step towards a more quantitative use of available information contained in historical texts, showing how Bayesian inference can help the climate community with this endeavour.