KLIMHIST: Reconstruction and model simulations of past climate in Portugal using documentary and early instrumental sources (17th-19th century)

Coordinator: Maria João Alcoforado, head of the CLiMA research unit, Centre for Geographical Studies / University of Lisbon


Climatic variability from the beginning of regular meteorological observations is now acknowledged. Nevertheless, there are several spatial and temporal knowledge gaps concerning climate change, particularly related to pre-instrumental era.

This project will concentrate on documentary evidence and early instrumental data from 1645 to 1900.

The objectives and expected outcomes are the following:

1. Contributing to the creation of a long-term history of climate in Portugal by: producing databases of documentary evidence and of instrumental data since 1645, a period of natural climate variability that includes the Maunder Minimum and the Dalton Minimum ; systematically searching for the first simultaneous documentary and instrumental data and reconstructing time series for Portugal; analyzing simulated multi-decadal trends over Portugal generated by climate models; comparing our results with those obtained from dendroclimatology and from geothermal studies regarding Portugal.  

2. Help completing the spatial coverage of past European climate, as the data gap over SW Europe is often mentioned in several studies: by disseminating data and model outputs to the scientific community; through the interaction with our consultants, all of them with active research in the historical climatology of Europe.

3. Validating reconstructed series using climate models and proxy data.

4. Studying extreme events of the past, their impacts and the vulnerability of societies to weather during the last 350 years, in order to understand how they have changed in time and compare them with current analogues.


At the interface of climatology and environmental history, Klimhist will be developed by a multidisciplinary team and will be carried out in collaboration with the Centre of History and Science Philosophy (University of Évora), the Faculty of Letters (University of Porto) and the Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences (University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real).

(PTDC/AAC-CLI/119078/2010) fct v_color_v2011

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