Spatio-Temporal and Topical Structure
The release 2 of Euro-Climhist / Module Switzerland comprises some 155‘000 records about weather, climate and its impacts on the human world, mainly between 1501 and 1863, i.e. prior to the onset of regular country-wide instrumental measurements within the network of today’s MeteoSwiss. Swiss data related to the period prior to 1501 will be published in the Module “Middle Ages.”
Euro-Climhist is based on written and pictorial documentary evidence about weather observations, on (early) instrumental measurements, as well as on proxy data. Several very long temperature and precipitation series date back to the early eighteenth century, Sums of observed precipitation days reach from the sixteenth or seventeenth century to present, and series of phenological data even from the late fifteenth century to present. Daily instrumental measurements after 1864 are only available via IDAweb, the MeteoSuisse data platform for education and research due to legal requirements.
The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) maintains a data-base on damages by floods and landslides, which public institutions may access on demand (Hilker, Badoux, Hegg 2009). Data on avalanches are collected by the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF. The access to this database is fee-based. Data on storms are collected in a Swiss storm archive that reaches back in the past in note form, however, without providing source texts and references. Moreover there exists only a version in German. While Euro-Climhist contains all kinds of weather damages, past impacts of floods, landslides, avalanches and storms in the second half of the twentieth century are contained in different data-bases reaching differently far back and being not equally well referenced. Thus there are gaps between the evidence contained in Euro-Climhist and the above mentioned archives that need to be filled in the future.
Euro-Climhist and Tambora.org
In many respects the observations contained in Euro-Climhist (Module Switzerland) corroborate and complete the large amount of data available on the data-platform Tambora. Tambora is a “climate and environmental history collaborative research environment focussing on climate reconstruction, environmental change, impacts of weather and climate including the coping strategies of impacted societies.” Euro-Climhist has an additional focus on source criticism to strictly distinguish between contemporary, usually reliable observations and those being non contemporary.