Data on Weather and Climate Available from Documentary Evidence

Historical documentary sources include textual, iconographic and epigraphic data that contain:

  • Daily observations of precipitation (rain, snowfall, thunderstorm, hail, graupel) in weather diaries
  • Narrative reports of (unusual) weather events
  • Descriptions of the causes and consequences of nature-induced disasters
  • Early instrumental measurements of air pressure, air temperature, rain gauge and water gauge
  • Water marks (flood marks, low water marks)
  • Reference to bio-physical temperature indicators in the near-natural environment (proxy data) such as:
    • stages of vegetation development in the summer half-year (April to September)
    • duration of snow cover, freezing of lakes and rivers, references to exceptional vegetation activity in the winter half-year (October to March)
  • Image data like pictorial representations and early photographs of historic glaciers allow reconstructing the former extension and volume of the ice.