Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2022-34
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2022-34
 
27 Apr 2022
27 Apr 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Pre-industrial Temperature Variability on the Swiss Plateau Derived from the Instrumental Daily Series of Bern and Zurich

Yuri Brugnara1,2, Chantal Hari1,3,4, Lucas Pfister1,2, Veronika Valler1,2, and Stefan Brönnimann1,2 Yuri Brugnara et al.
  • 1Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Wyss Academy for Nature, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 4Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. We describe the compilation of two early instrumental daily temperature series from Bern and Zurich, Switzerland, starting from 1760 and 1756, respectively. The series are a combination of numerous small segments from different observers at different locations, within and outside the two cities, converted to modern units and homogenized. In addition, we introduce a methodology to estimate the errors affecting daily and monthly mean values derived from early instrumental observations. Given the frequent small data gaps, we merge the two daily series into a more complete series representing the central Swiss Plateau. We finally compare the homogenized monthly series with other temperature reconstructions for Switzerland. We find significant differences before 1860 pointing to biases affecting some of the most widely used instrumental data sets. In general, the homogenization of temperature measurements at the transition between the early instrumental and the national weather services eras remains a problematic issue in historical climatology and has significant implications for other fields of climate research.

Yuri Brugnara et al.

Status: open (until 22 Jun 2022)

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Yuri Brugnara et al.

Yuri Brugnara et al.

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Short summary
We digitized dozens of weather journals containing temperature measurements from in and around Bern and Zurich. They cover over a century before the creation of a national weather service in Switzerland. With these data we could create daily temperature series for the two cities that span the last 265 years. We found that pre-industrial climate on the Swiss Plateau was colder than suggested by most existing temperature reconstructions and almost 3 °C colder than present-day climate.