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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 8, issue 2
Clim. Past, 8, 577–588, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-8-577-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Clim. Past, 8, 577–588, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-8-577-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 19 Mar 2012

Research article | 19 Mar 2012

Continental atmospheric circulation over Europe during the Little Ice Age inferred from grape harvest dates

P. Yiou1, I. García de Cortázar-Atauri2,*, I. Chuine2, V. Daux1, E. Garnier1,3, N. Viovy1, C. van Leeuwen4, A. K. Parker4,**, and J.-M. Boursiquot5,6 P. Yiou et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR8212, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, CE Saclay l'Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 2Equipe BIOFLUX, Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier cedex 05, France
  • 3Centre de Recherche en Histoire Quantitative, UMR Université de Caen – CNRS, Esplanade de la Paix, 14032 Caen cedex 5, France
  • 4ENITA, Université de Bordeaux, UMR EGFV, ISVV, 1 Cours du Général de Gaulle, CS 40201, 33175 Gradignan-cedex, France
  • 5Montpellier SupAgro – INRA, UMR DIAPC 1097, Equipe Génétique Vigne, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier, France
  • 6INRA Unité Expérimentale du Domaine de Vassal, route de Sète, 34340 Marseillan Plage, France
  • *present address: INRA-Agroclim, Domaine St Paul – Site Agroparc 84914 Avignon, France
  • **present address: Lincoln University, P.O. Box 84, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand

Abstract. Estimates of climate conditions before the 19th century are based on proxy data reconstructions or sparse meteorological measurements. The reconstruction of the atmospheric circulation that prevailed during the European Little Ice Age (∼1500–1850) has fostered many efforts. This study illustrates a methodology, combining historical proxies and modern datasets to obtain detailed information on the atmospheric circulation that prevailed over the North Atlantic region during the Little Ice Age. We used reconstructions of temperature gradients over France based on grape harvest dates to infer the atmospheric circulation. We found that blocking situations were more likely in summer, inducing a continental atmospheric flow. This study advocates that the reconstructions of the past atmospheric circulation should take this regime into account.

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