Droughts in Bern and in Rouen from the 14th to the beginning of the 18th century

Camenisch, Chantal; Salvisberg, Melanie (2019). Droughts in Bern and in Rouen from the 14th to the beginning of the 18th century. Climate of the past discussions Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-2019-114

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Droughts derive from a deficit of precipitation and belong to the most dangerous natural hazards for human societies. Documentary data of the pre-modern and early modern times contain direct and indirect information on precipitation that allow the production of reconstructions with the methods of historical climatology. For this study, two drought indices have been created on the basis of documentary data produced in Bern, Switzerland (DIB) and in Rouen, France (DIR) for the period from 1315 to 1715. These two indices have been compared to a third supra-regional drought index for Switzerland (SDI), Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium synthesised from precipitation reconstruction based on historical climatology. The results of the study show that the documentary data from Bern mainly contain summer droughts, whereas the data from Rouen rather allow the reconstruction of spring droughts. The comparison of the three indices shows that the DIB and the DIR most probably do not contain all actual drought events, but they also detect droughts that do not appear in the SDI. This fact suggests that more documentary data from single places, such as historical city archives, should be examined in the future and added to larger reconstructions in order to obtain more complete drought reconstructions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Economic, Social and Environmental History

UniBE Contributor:

Camenisch, Chantal Eva Maria and Salvisberg, Melanie


900 History > 940 History of Europe




Copernicus Publications




Chantal Eva Maria Camenisch Loretan

Date Deposited:

24 Mar 2020 11:57

Last Modified:

26 Mar 2020 05:14

Publisher DOI:






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