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An extended network of documentary data from South America and its potential for quantitative precipitation reconstructions back to the 16th century


Figure 1. Locations of the documentary records and fraction of explained precipitation variance
Figure 1. Locations of the documentary records and fraction of explained precipitation variance.
An extended network of documentary data from South America and its potential for quantitative precipitation reconstructions back to the 16th century

Geophysical Research Letters
Vol. 36, 2009, L12703, doi:10.1029/2009GL038351

Raphael Neukom1,2, María del Rosario Prieto3, Rodolfo Moyano3, Jürg Luterbacher4, Christian Pfister1,5, Ricardo Villalba3, Philip D. Jones6, and Heinz Wanner1,2
1Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
2Institute of Geography, Climatology and Meteorology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
3Instituto Argentino de Nivología, Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales, CCC-CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina.
4Department of Geography, Climatology, Climate Dynamics and Climate Change, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.
5Institute of History, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
6Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
ABSTRACT:
In South America (SA) several documentary based climate time series exist, some of them extending back to the 16th century. Most of these records end in the 19th century, and can not be calibrated against instrumental data. Here, we used the newspaper "Los Andes" from Mendoza, Argentina, to extend documentary based indices of Mendoza precipitation and Central Andes snow depth to the late 20th century. A statistical approach to create "pseudo documentary" 20th century data was applied to prolong eight other documentary records. Increased variability of the hydrological cycle in the Central Andes and prevailing periods of wet and dry years in Mendoza suggest that the 20th century is extraordinary in the context of the last 400 years. The final set of extended documentaries explains significant portions of SA precipitation variability in large areas between 20°S and 40°S and can therefore improve the network of annually resolved precipitation proxies.
Download data from the WDC Paleo archive:
South American Documentary Hydrological Indices, Text or Excel format.

To read or view the full study, please visit the AGU website.
It was published in Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, L12703, doi:10.1029/2009GL038351

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