Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2022-88
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2022-88
 
02 Dec 2022
02 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Climatic signatures in early modern European grain harvest yields

Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist1,2,3, Bo Christiansen4, Jan Esper5,6, Heli Huhtamaa7,8, Lotta Leijonhufvud9,a, Christian Pfister7,8, Andrea Seim10,11, Martin Karl Skoglund12, and Peter Thejll4 Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist et al.
  • 1Department of History, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Linneanum, Thunbergsvägen 2, 752 38 Uppsala, Sweden
  • 4Danish Meteorological Institute, Lyngbyvej 100, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
  • 5Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University, 551 28 Mainz, Germany
  • 6Global Change Research Institute (CzechGlobe), Czech Academy of Sciences, 603 00, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 7Institute of History, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 8Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 9Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 10Chair of Forest Growth and Dendroecology, Institute of Forest Sciences, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, 791 06 Freiburg, Germany
  • 11Department of Botany, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 12Division of Agrarian History, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
  • acurrent affiliation: Upplands-Bro Municipality, 196 81 Kungsängen, Sweden

Abstract. The association between climate variability and grain harvest yields has been an important component of food security and economy in European history. Yet, inter-regional comparisons of climate–yield relationships have been hampered by locally varying data types and use of different statistical methods. Using a coherent statistical framework, considering the effects of diverse serial correlations on significance, we assess the temperature and hydroclimate (precipitation and drought) signatures in grain harvest yields across varying environmental settings of early modern (c. 1500–1800) Europe. An unprecedentedly large network of yield records from northern (Sweden), central (Switzerland) and southern (Spain) Europe is com- pared with a diverse set of seasonally and annually resolved palaeoclimate reconstructions. Considering the effects of different crop types and time-series frequencies, we find within regions consistent climate–harvest yield patterns characterised by a significant summer soil moisture signal in Sweden, a winter temperature and precipitation signal in Switzerland, and spring and annual mean temperature signals in Spain. The regional scale climate–harvest associations are weaker than the recently revealed signals in early modern grain prices, albeit similar to those observed in modern climate–harvest relationships on comparable spatial scales.

Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist et al.

Status: open (until 14 Mar 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2022-88', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Dec 2022 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, 19 Dec 2022 reply

Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist et al.

Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist et al.

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Short summary
We study the climate signal in long harvest series from across Europe between the 16th to 18th centuries. The climate–harvest yield relationship is found to be relatively weak but regionally consistent and similar in strength and sign to modern climate–harvest yield relationships. The strongest climate–harvest yield patterns is a significant summer soil moisture signal in Sweden, a winter temperature and precipitation signal in Switzerland, and spring temperature signals in Spain.