Beginnings in the Period of Punched Cards (1977-1989)

The history of Euro-Climhist begins with a Swiss National Science Foundation research fellowship (1975-1977) in view of writing a climate history of Switzerland, Christian Pfister’s later-on habilitation study. Inspired by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s path-breaking „Histoire du Climat depuis l’An Mil“ (1967) and later by Hubert Horace Lamb’s „Climate, Present, Past and future“ (1977). Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (born 1929) is a historian with a passion for studying past weather and climate, whereas the late Hubert Lamb (1913-1997) was a climatologist with a passion for human history. Pfisters “A Climate History of Switzerland” (1984, in German) draws on 34’000 records out of numerous archives from which he derived temperature and precipitation indices. To supply the needed proofs for the climate reconstruction a software application named SRTCLIM written in PL-1 had been developed since the late 1970s, and thousands of cards had to be punched. Since 1985, the CLIMHIST-CH documentation was sold to libraries and research institutions in the form of paper-printouts or microfiches, because no other cheap publishing channel was available in the “Ancient Regime of IT technology”. Just the paper version has survived the many IT revolutions in the coming two decades which was pivotal for the continuation of the project.