The ESF Conferences of Mainz (1990) and Bern (1992)

A first ESF conference on documentary data convened in Mainz in March 1990 to set up a common research strategy (Frenzel, Pfister, Gläser 1992). It brought together leading scholars in the field, among them Rudolf Brázdil from Masaryk University in Brno (Czech Republic) and Rüdiger Glaser, now teaching at the University of Freiburg (Germany), who over the subsequent decades would become two of the dominant figures in Historical Climatology. At the end of the meeting participants agreed to collect documentary data for a given period, the late Maunder Minimum (1675-1715), which is well known for its frequent weather extremes. Junior researchers from different partner-countries should be invited to Bern to become familiar with the approach. Some of the juniors, notably Petr Dobrovolný from Brno (Czech Republic), Elena Xoplaki (Greece) and Lajos Racz (Hungary), later became leading scholars in their countries.

The second ESF conference entitled „Climatic Trends and Anomalies in Europe 1675-1715 took place from 3rd to 5th September 1992 in the House of the University in Bern (Frenzel, Pfister, Gläser 1994). It brought together a group of 51 (historical) geographers, (environmental) historians, dendro-climatologists, meteorologists and climatologists from 15 European nations, also from China and Japan. It was the first international symposium of this kind for which the participants had previously submitted various kinds of palaeoclimatic data – early instrumental series, documentary data, dendroclimatic and other proxy data – in a chronologically, spatially and thematically standardized form to a common database in order to have this evidence ready to include in a pan-European multi-proxy mapping scheme at the time of the meeting.

The evidence should be comprised in a database named EURO-CLIMHIST where it should be standardized, processed and displayed in the form of historical weather maps according to the model by Hubert Lamb (1977) und John Kington (1994). (Pfister et al. 1994; Wanner et al. 1994).