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 Ljungqvist, Bo Christiansen, Jan Esper, Heli Huhtamaa, Lotta Leijonhufvud, Christian Pfister, Andrea Seim, Martin Karl Skoglund, and Peter Thejll

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: final response (author comments only)

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
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, 19 Dec 2022
  • CC1: 'Comment on cp-2022-88', Dag Retsö, 13 Feb 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on CC1', Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, 30 Mar 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2022-88', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Apr 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, 23 Apr 2023
  • AC4: 'Final response on cp-2022-88', Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, 29 Apr 2023

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.