Regional Museum

Litoměřice, Czech Republic

Regional Museum

Litoměřice, Czech Republic
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Brazdil R.,Masaryk University | Brazdil R.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Szabo P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Stucki P.,Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research | And 12 more authors.
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2017

An extreme windstorm that took place on 7 December 1868 in the Czech Lands is analysed by means of rich documentary evidence from narrative sources, damage records, forestry journals and newspapers. Early meteorological measurements and a numerical atmospheric reanalysis support the documentary reconstruction. The windstorm reached hurricane-force over the Czech Lands between 0900 and 1600 of local mean time and was related to the passage of a cold front. The high winds, achieving hurricane-force, led to loss of human lives and many other casualties, as well as to severe damage to buildings and other structures. In particular, the documentary sources facilitate a quantitative reconstruction of the massive windthrow that occurred in forested areas across the Czech Lands, where the windstorm damaged at least 8 million m3 of timber, which is arguably more than has been lost to any single similar event since. Reasons for the extreme windthrow, apart from wind forces and destabilization arising from wet and thawed soils, were found in increased vulnerability arising out of old, dense and mono-species conifer stands and inadequate clear-cutting and thinning measures. For the Czech Lands, this event was the most damaging windstorm in the 19th century. Moreover, damage reports are found from the British Isles, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to Austria, the Czech Lands and Poland, documenting its disastrous effects on a (sub-)continental scale. © 2017 Royal Meteorological Society

Brazdil R.,Masaryk University | Brazdil R.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Stucki P.,Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research | Stucki P.,University of Bern | And 12 more authors.
Theoretical and Applied Climatology | Year: 2017

One of the most disastrous windstorms to take place over the Czech Lands occurred on the night of 26/27 October 1870. It is here analysed through the use of documentary data (narrative sources, newspapers, forestry journals, printed documents) and systematic meteorological observations (wind force and direction). Combining this evidence with information derived from an atmospheric reanalysis dataset allows the severity of the windstorm to be attributed to the passage of a cold front, a frontal system associated with a secondary low in a typically storm-prone synoptic environment. Its social impacts were characterised by great material damage, particularly to buildings and other structures, trees and forests. These are recorded not only for 174 places around the countryside and lesser settlements of the Czech Lands, but also for 28 city quarters in Prague, the capital city. The windstorm occurred in the night hours, so only a few people were killed or injured. However, the 1870 windstorm totally devastated many forested areas of the Šumava Mts. in south-west Bohemia. Damage to forests in other parts of the Czech Lands was also severe, but difficult to quantify exactly for lack of high-resolution spatial data. Because this windstorm followed only shortly upon a previous similarly disastrous wind event on 7 December 1868, the enormous quantity of windthrown wood in forests, which simply could not be fast-processed, contributed significantly to a subsequent bark-beetle infestation calamity in the 1870s. In certain forest stands, imprints of these aggregate effects appear to this day. The central-European scale of 1870 windstorm is also well documented by meteorological and documentary data from Germany, Austria and Slovakia. © 2017 Springer-Verlag Wien

Glaser R.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Riemann D.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Schonbein J.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Barriendos M.,University of Barcelona | And 15 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2010

The paper presents a qualitative and quantitative analysis of flood variability and forcing of major European rivers since AD 1500. We compile and investigate flood reconstructions which are based on documentary evidence for twelve Central European rivers and for eight Mediterranean rivers. Flood variability and underlying climatological causes are reconstructed by using hermeneutic approaches including critical source analysis and by applying a semi-quantitative classification scheme. The paper describes the driving climatic causes, seasonality and variability of observed flood events within the different river catchments covering the European mainland. Historical flood data are presented and recent research in the field of historical flood reconstructions is highlighted. Additionally, the character of the different flood series is discussed. A comparison of the historical flood seasonality in relation to modern distribution is given and aspects of the spatial coherence are presented. The comparative analysis points to the fact that the number of flood events is predominately triggered by regional climatic forcing, with at most only minor influence on neighbouring catchments. The only exceptions are extreme, supra-regional climatic events and conditions such as anomalous cold winters, similar to that of 1784, which affected large parts of Europe and triggered flood events in several catchments as a result of ice-break at the beginning of the annual thaw. Four periods of increased occurrence of flooding, mostly affecting Central European Rivers, have been identified; 1540-1600, 1640-1700, 1730-1790, 1790-1840. The reconstruction, compilation and analysis of European-wide flood data over the last five centuries reveal the complexity of the underlying climatological causes and the high variability of flood events in temporal and spatial dimension. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Wetter O.,University of Bern | Pfister C.,University of Bern | Zorita E.,Helmholtz Center Geesthacht | Wagner S.,Helmholtz Center Geesthacht | And 29 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2014

The heat waves of 2003 in Western Europe and 2010 in Russia, commonly labelled as rare climatic anomalies outside of previous experience, are often taken as harbingers of more frequent extremes in the global warming-influenced future. However, a recent reconstruction of spring-summer temperatures for WE resulted in the likelihood of significantly higher temperatures in 1540. In order to check the plausibility of this result we investigated the severity of the 1540 drought by putting forward the argument of the known soil desiccation-temperature feedback. Based on more than 300 first-hand documentary weather report sources originating from an area of 2 to 3 million km2, we show that Europe was affected by an unprecedented 11-month-long Megadrought. The estimated number of precipitation days and precipitation amount for Central and Western Europe in 1540 is significantly lower than the 100-year minima of the instrumental measurement period for spring, summer and autumn. This result is supported by independent documentary evidence about extremely low river flows and Europe-wide wild-, forest- and settlement fires. We found that an event of this severity cannot be simulated by state-of-the-art climate models. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Brazdil R.,Masaryk University | Brazdil R.,Global Change Research Center | Dobrovolny P.,Masaryk University | Dobrovolny P.,Global Change Research Center | And 10 more authors.
Climate of the Past | Year: 2013

This paper addresses droughts in the Czech Lands in the 1090-2012 AD period, basing its findings on documentary evidence and instrumental records. Various documentary sources were employed for the selection of drought events, which were then interpreted at a monthly level. Whi. © Author(s) 2013.

Dobrovolny P.,Masaryk University | Dobrovolny P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Brazdil R.,Masaryk University | Brazdil R.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2015

This contribution employs documentary-based precipitation indices and long homogenized series of precipitation totals for quantitative reconstruction of seasonal and annual precipitation in the Czech Lands (now the Czech Republic) from AD 1501. Final calibration is based on linear regression using fully independent indices and data measured during the 1804-1854 overlap period, with subsequent variance scaling. Correlation analysis demonstrates that Czech documentary indices explain a significant amount of precipitation variability in all months and seasons of the entire overlapping period. Reconstruction results are best for annual values and for autumn (SON), for which proxy and target data share 36% of common variability. The coefficient of determination for summer (June-July-August - JJA) is 35%, for spring (March-April-May - MAM) 33%, while for winter (December-January-February - DJF) it is only 26%. Verification statistics [reduction of error (RE), coefficient of efficiency (CE)] computed for early (1804-1829) and late (1830-1854) overlapping periods indicate acceptable reconstruction skill for precipitation indices in JJA and annual values. However, for the other seasons they failed in the early or late calibration period, indicating possible chronological instability of reconstruction results in MAM, SON (September-October-November), and DJF seasons. The final reconstructions are complemented with uncertainty estimates. Reconstructed Czech precipitation series do not indicate long-term trends but reveal quite high inter-annual and inter-decadal variability. Smoothed reconstructed DJF and JJA precipitation totals show the highest values in the second part of the 16th century, while the driest 30-year period occurred during the 18th century in DJF, MAM, JJA, and in annual series. Direct comparisons with two other reconstructions (tree-ring-based for southern Moravia and gridded multi-proxy for Central Europe) not only show significant correlations for a substantial part of the common period, but also disclose several periods with loss of coherence. Finally, uncertainties in reconstructions are discussed. © 2014 Royal Meteorological Society.

Brazdil R.,Masaryk University | Brazdil R.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Szabo P.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Dobrovolny P.,Masaryk University | And 6 more authors.
Theoretical and Applied Climatology | Year: 2016

This paper addresses the course, extent, and impacts of a windstorm that occurred on 20–21 December 1740, in the Czech Lands. The analysis is based on documentary data included in chronicles, “books of memory”, memoirs, damage reports, urbaria, and cadastral records, as well as secondary sources. The windstorm started with a thunderstorm in the afternoon of 20 December, continued during the night, and was followed by a flood. It also appeared in documentary data from Bavaria, Thuringia, Saxony, Silesia, Slovakia, and Hungary. The event may be related to a cyclone north-west of the Czech territory moving to the east with an intense western flow over central Europe. The storm did great material damage to houses, farm buildings, churches, and forests and is recorded in various documentary sources for 85 places in the Czech Lands. The windstorm had a significant influence on the development of local plantation forestry (discussed in greater detail). Judging by territorial extent and damage done, this windstorm, compared to other similar events, has been classified as “the windstorm of the eighteenth century” in the Czech Lands. This contribution demonstrates the potential of documentary evidence for the elucidation of heavy windstorms in the pre-instrumental period in Europe. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Wien

Dobrovolny P.,Masaryk University | Brazdil R.,Masaryk University | Kotyza O.,Regional Museum | Valasek H.,Moravian Land Archives
Geografie-Sbornik CGS | Year: 2010

Extremely cold/mild winters (DJF) and extremely cold/warm summers (JJA) in the Czech Lands were derived from series of temperature indices based on documentary evidence (1500-1854) and from series of air temperatures measured at the Prague-Klementinum station (1771-2007) over the past 500 years. Altogether 24 cold winters, 23 mild winters, 18 cold summers and 21 warm summers emerged. Czech extremes were compared with the Central European temperature series and series of documentary-based temperature indices for the Low Countries, Germany and Switzerland. Analysis of composite sea level pressure fields confirms advection of cold air from the north-west (extremely cold summers) or from the east (extremely cold winters). Mild winters are related to warm airflow from the west or south-west and extremely warm summers to the influence of high pressure related to the Azores High. Spatial correlations of extremes for winters proved better than for summers. We demonstrate that documentary evidence explains temperature variability for winter better than it does for the other seasons. © 2010 The Author.

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