These two files contain the Graduated Indices GI [+3 ,-3] for both temperature and precipitation from 1525 to 1989. The first column contains the year, followed by the monthly temperature indices. Then there are five columns with indices for each season and the year. Precipitation indices are provided in the same order.
The Graduated Index GI [+3,-3] is bound on a high density of data and on the availability of quasi continuous proxy data from historical and natural archives that are calibrated within the period of instrumental observations. The reference period is 1901-1960. Winter temperatures are estimated from hydrological indicators such as the proportion of the number of snowfalls relative to that of rainy days, the duration of snow-cover and the freezing of lakes in the Alpine borderland and observed signs of vegetative activity. For the spring and summer season the focus is on biological indicators such as dendro-climatic data, phenological observations, para-phenological indicators such as grape or vine harvest dates, as well as on continuous quantitative data on the volume of vine harvests, but also on snow-falls in the Alps. Precipitation is estimated from the number of rainy days obtained from weather diaries and from evidence on floods and low water tables of large rivers and lakes.
Monthly, seasonal and yearly indices may take the following values: + /3 for very warm or wet, cold or dry anomalies respectively. Anomalies are defined as <1st duodecile or >11th duodecile according to the 1901-60 distribution for temperature. The precipitation index is based upon several instrumental series of both sums of precipitation and number of days with precipitation >0.3mm (see Pfister 1984 for details) + /-2 for warm or wet, cold or dry months, respectively + /-1 for months with temperature or precipitation above or below average 0 for "average" months or data not available
On a seasonal level the GI is defined as the average of the monthly GI, which yields gradations of 0.3 between -3 and +3. Anomalies correspond to graduated indices of >= + 2.3 and <=- 2.3, respectively. On a yearly level the GI is defined as the average of the monthly GI.
The entire documentation which underlies the indices is titled CLIMHIST-CH, and is available on paper or microfiche from METEOTEST, Fabrikstr. 29 a, CH 3012 Bern Switzerland.
Historical Weather Indices from Switzerland
Dataset Series Name:
IGBP PAGES/WDCA Data Contribution Series #93-027
Dataset Release Date:
Dataset Release Place:
IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology
WDC/PALEOCLIMATOLOGY, BOULDER Phone:
+1 (303) 497-6160
+1 (303) 497-6513
paleo at noaa.gov
World Data Center for Paleoclimatology
NOAA/NCDC Code E/GCx3
325 Broadway City:
Province or State:
Christian.Pfister at hist.unibe.ch
Historisches Institut der Universitat Bern
Engehaldenstrasse 4 City:
Pfister, C. (1984): Das Klima der Schweiz von 1525-1860 und seine Bedeutung in der Geschichte von Bevoelkerung und Landwirtschaft. Bern.
Pfister, C. (1992): Monthly temperature and precipitation patterns in Central Europe from 1525 to the present. A methodology for quantifying man made evidence on weather and climate. In: Bradley R.S., Jones P.D. (eds.) Climate since 1500A.D., pp. 118-143. London.
Pfister C., Kington J., Kleinlogel G., Schuele H., Siffert E. (1994): The creation of high resolution spatio- temporal reconstructions of past climate from direct meteorological observations and proxy data. Methodological considerations and results. In: Frenzel, B., Pfister C., Glaeser, B. (eds), Climate in Europe 1675-1715.