Presence of four generations of historical climatologists at the conference of the „European Society for Environmental History“ (ESEH) in Munich 2013: (from left to right) Rudolf Brázdil, Brno (*1951), Christian Pfister, Bern (*1944), Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (*1929) at the speaker’s desk, Franz Mauelshagen (*1967). Source: Eveline Zbinden, Bern.

Historical Climatology is dealing mainly with written or pictorial documentary evidence and using the methodology of both climatology and (environmental) history. Its aim is to:

  1. Reconstruction of past weather and climate: Reconstruct the past weather and climate of the period prior to the foundation of national meteorological services networks in the late 19th century.

  2. Vulnerability analysis of past societies: Investigate the vulnerability of past economies and societies to climate variations, climatic extremes and nature-induced disasters.

  3. Knowledge and perception history of climate: Explore the debates on and social representations of the climate. A first historical survey of the meteorological observations in Switzerland during the 18th and 19th centuries has been published in 1909 by Julius Maurer, Rudolf Billwiler and Clemens Hess.