The Early Spörer Minimum – A Period of Extraordinary Climate and Socio-economic Changes in Western and Central Europe

Camenisch, Chantal; Keller, Kathrin; Salvisberg, Melanie; Amann, Benjamin Jean-François; Bauch, Martin; Blumer, Sandro Renato; Brázdil, Rudolf; Brönnimann, Stefan; Büntgen, Ulf; Campbell, Bruce M. S.; Fernández-Donado, Laura; Fleitmann, Dominik; Glaser, Rüdiger; González-Rouco, Fidel; Grosjean, Martin; Hoffmann, Richard C.; Huhtamaa, Heli Maaria; Joos, Fortunat; Kiss, Andrea; Kotyza, Oldřich; ... (2016). The Early Spörer Minimum – A Period of Extraordinary Climate and Socio-economic Changes in Western and Central Europe. Climate of the past, 12, pp. 1-33. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-2016-7

[img]
Preview
Text
cp-2016-7.pdf - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (1MB) | Preview

Throughout the last millennium, mankind was affected by prolonged deviations from the climate mean state. While periods like the Maunder Minimum in the 17th century have been assessed in greater detail, earlier cold periods such as the 15th century received much less attention due to the sparse information available. Based on new evidence from different sources ranging from proxy archives to model simulations, it is now possible to provide an end-to-end assessment about the climate state during an exceptionally cold period in the 15th century, the role of internal, unforced climate variability and external forcing in shaping these extreme climatic conditions, and the impacts on and responses of the medieval society in Central Europe. Climate reconstructions from a multitude of natural and human archives indicate that, during winter, the period of the early Spörer Minimum (1431–1440 CE) was the coldest decade in Central Europe in the 15th century. The particularly cold winters and normal but wet summers resulted in a strong seasonal cycle that challenged food production and led to increasing food prices, a subsistence crisis, and a famine in parts of Europe. As a consequence, authorities implemented adaptation measures, such as the installation of grain storage capacities, in order to be prepared for future events. The 15th century is characterised by a grand solar minimum and enhanced volcanic activity, which both imply a reduction of seasonality. Climate model simulations show that periods with cold winters and strong seasonality are associated with internal climate variability rather than external forcing. Accordingly, it is hypothesised that the reconstructed extreme climatic conditions during this decade occurred by chance and in relation to the partly chaotic, internal variability within the climate system.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Paleolimnology
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Climatology
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Economic, Social and Environmental History

Graduate School:

Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Camenisch, Chantal; Keller, Kathrin; Salvisberg, Melanie; Amann, Benjamin Jean-François; Blumer, Sandro Renato; Brönnimann, Stefan; Büntgen, Ulf; Fleitmann, Dominik; Grosjean, Martin; Huhtamaa, Heli Maaria; Joos, Fortunat; Lehner, Flavio; Luterbacher, Jürg; Neukom, Raphael; Raible, Christoph and Wetter, Oliver

Subjects:

900 History > 910 Geography & travel
500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History

ISSN:

1814-9324

Publisher:

Copernicus Publications

Language:

English

Submitter:

Chantal Camenisch Loretan

Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2016 13:56

Last Modified:

12 Feb 2017 02:03

Publisher DOI:

10.5194/cp-2016-7

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.77863

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/77863

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback