Monthly temperature series for Central Europe back to AD 1500 are
developed from documentary index series from Germany, Switzerland and the
Czech Republic (1500–1854) and 11 instrumental temperature records (1760–2007).
Documentary evidence from the Low Countries, the Carpathian Basin and Poland
are used for cross-checking for earlier centuries. The instrumental station records
are corrected for inhomogeneities, including insufficient radiation protection of
early thermometers and the urban heat island effect. For overlapping period (1760–
1854), the documentary data series correlate with instrumental temperatures, most
strongly in winter (86% explained variance in January) and least in autumn (56%
in September). For annual average temperatures, 81% of the variance is explained.
Verification statistics indicate high reconstruction skill for most months and seasons.
The last 20 years (since 1988) stand out as very likely the warmest 20-year period,
accounting for the calibration uncertainty and decreases in proxy data quality before
the calibration period. The new reconstruction displays a previously unobservedlong-term decrease in DJF, MAM and JJA temperature variability over last five centuries. Compiled monthly, seasonal and annual series can be used to improve the
robustness of gridded large-scale European temperature reconstructions and possible
impact studies. Further improvement of the reconstruction would be achieved if
documentary data from other European countries are further developed.
P Dobrovolny, A Moberg, R Brazdil, C Pfister, R Glaser, R Wilson, A van Engelen, D Limanowka, A Kiss, M Halickova, J Mackova, D Riemann, J Luterbacher, R Bohm. Monthly, seasonal and annual temperature reconstructions for Central Europe derived from documentary evidence and instrumental records since AD 1500
accepted, Climatic Change, 2009