11 Jan 2024
 | 11 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Effects of weather and climate on fluctuations of grain prices in southwestern Bohemia, 1725–1824 CE

Rudolf Brázdil, Jan Lhoták, Kateřina Chromá, and Petr Dobrovolný

Abstract. Grain prices in early modern Europe reflected the effects of weather on crop yields and a complex array of societal and socio-economic factors. This study presents a newly-developed series of grain prices for Sušice (southwestern Bohemia, Czech Republic) for the period 1725–1824 CE, based on various archival sources. It aims to analyze their relationships with weather and climate, represented by temperature, precipitation, and drought (self-calibrated Palmer Drought Severity Index, scPDSI) reconstructions, as well as particular weather extremes and anomalies reported in documentary evidence. Wheat, rye, barley, and oats series in Sušice showed high mutual correlations. The highest prices in mean annual variations typically occurred from May to July before the harvest, while prices usually declined afterwards. Wheat, rye, and barley prices were significantly negatively correlated with spring temperatures and positively correlated with scPDSI from winter to summer. This indicates that wetter winters, cooler and wetter springs, and wetter summers contributed to higher prices. The extremely high grain prices in the years 1746, 1771–1772, 1802–1806, and 1816–1817 were separately analyzed with respect to weather/climate patterns and other socio-economic and political factors. The results obtained were discussed in relation to data uncertainty, factors influencing grain prices, and the broader European context.

Rudolf Brázdil, Jan Lhoták, Kateřina Chromá, and Petr Dobrovolný

Status: open (until 07 Mar 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2024-2', Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, 27 Jan 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2024-2', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Feb 2024 reply
  • RC3: 'Comment on cp-2024-2', Anonymous Referee #3, 11 Feb 2024 reply
    • RC4: 'Reply on RC3', Anonymous Referee #3, 11 Feb 2024 reply
  • RC5: 'Comment on cp-2024-2', Anonymous Referee #4, 18 Feb 2024 reply
Rudolf Brázdil, Jan Lhoták, Kateřina Chromá, and Petr Dobrovolný
Rudolf Brázdil, Jan Lhoták, Kateřina Chromá, and Petr Dobrovolný


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Short summary
The newly developed series of wheat, rye, barley and oats prices from Sušice (southwestern Bohemia) for the period 1725–1824 CE is used to demonstrate effects of weather, climate, socio-economic and societal factors on their fluctuations with particular attention to years with extremely high prices. Mainly cold spring temperatures and wet conditions from winter to summer were reflected in very high grain prices.