Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Clim. Past, 11, 1027-1047, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
06 Aug 2015
A collection of sub-daily pressure and temperature observations for the early instrumental period with a focus on the "year without a summer" 1816
Y. Brugnara1,2, R. Auchmann1,2, S. Brönnimann1,2, R. J. Allan3, I. Auer4, M. Barriendos5, H. Bergström6, J. Bhend7, R. Brázdil8,9, G. P. Compo10, R. C. Cornes11, F. Dominguez-Castro12,13, A. F. V. van Engelen14, J. Filipiak15, J. Holopainen16, S. Jourdain17, M. Kunz18, J. Luterbacher19, M. Maugeri20, L. Mercalli21, A. Moberg22,23, C. J. Mock24, G. Pichard25, L. Řezníčková8,9, G. van der Schrier14, V. Slonosky26, Z. Ustrnul27, M. A. Valente28, A. Wypych27, and X. Yin29 1Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Bern, Switzerland
2Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
3Hadley Centre, Met Office, Exeter, Devon, UK
4ZAMG (Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics), Vienna, Austria
5Department of Modern History, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
6Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
7Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss, Zurich, Switzerland
8Institute of Geography, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
9Global Change Research Centre, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Brno, Czech Republic
10University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the Physical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO, USA
11CRU (Climatic Research Unit), School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
12Department of Physics, Universidad de Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain
13Departamento de Ingenieríia Civil y Ambiental, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador
14KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute), De Bilt, the Netherlands
15Institute of Geography, University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland
16Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
17Météo-France, Direction de la Climatologie, Toulouse, France
18Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
19Department of Geography, Climatology, Climate Dynamics and Climate Change, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany
20Università degli Studi di Milano, Department of Physics, Milan, Italy
21SMI (Società Meteorologica Italiana), Turin, Italy
22Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
23Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
24Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
25Department of History, Université Aix-Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, France
26McGill University, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies on Montreal, Montreal, Canada
27Jagiellonian University, Department of Climatology, Cracow, Poland
28Instituto Dom Luiz, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
29ERT, Inc., Asheville, NC, USA
Abstract. The eruption of Mount Tambora (Indonesia) in April 1815 is the largest documented volcanic eruption in history. It is associated with a large global cooling during the following year, felt particularly in parts of Europe and North America, where the year 1816 became known as the "year without a summer". This paper describes an effort made to collect surface meteorological observations from the early instrumental period, with a focus on the years of and immediately following the eruption (1815–1817). Although the collection aimed in particular at pressure observations, correspondent temperature observations were also recovered. Some of the series had already been described in the literature, but a large part of the data, recently digitised from original weather diaries and contemporary magazines and newspapers, is presented here for the first time. The collection puts together more than 50 sub-daily series from land observatories in Europe and North America and from ships in the tropics. The pressure observations have been corrected for temperature and gravity and reduced to mean sea level. Moreover, an additional statistical correction was applied to take into account common error sources in mercury barometers. To assess the reliability of the corrected data set, the variance in the pressure observations is compared with modern climatologies, and single observations are used for synoptic analyses of three case studies in Europe. All raw observations will be made available to the scientific community in the International Surface Pressure Databank.

Citation: Brugnara, Y., Auchmann, R., Brönnimann, S., Allan, R. J., Auer, I., Barriendos, M., Bergström, H., Bhend, J., Brázdil, R., Compo, G. P., Cornes, R. C., Dominguez-Castro, F., van Engelen, A. F. V., Filipiak, J., Holopainen, J., Jourdain, S., Kunz, M., Luterbacher, J., Maugeri, M., Mercalli, L., Moberg, A., Mock, C. J., Pichard, G., Řezníčková, L., van der Schrier, G., Slonosky, V., Ustrnul, Z., Valente, M. A., Wypych, A., and Yin, X.: A collection of sub-daily pressure and temperature observations for the early instrumental period with a focus on the "year without a summer" 1816, Clim. Past, 11, 1027-1047,, 2015.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
A data set of instrumental pressure and temperature observations for the early instrumental period (before ca. 1850) is described. This is the result of a digitisation effort involving the period immediately after the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, combined with the collection of already available sub-daily time series. The highest data availability is therefore for the years 1815 to 1817. An analysis of pressure variability and of case studies in Europe is performed for that period.
A data set of instrumental pressure and temperature observations for the early instrumental...