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Weather and climate and their human impacts and responses during the Thirty Years' War in central Europe



Rok publikování 2023
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Climate of the Past
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Přírodovědecká fakulta

Klíčová slova Thirty Years’ War; weather; climate; documentary data; temperature; precipitation and drought patterns; weather extremes; human impacts and responses; Central Europe
Popis The Thirty Years' War, which took place from 1618 to 1648?CE, was an armed military conflict in Europe. It resulted from the culmination of theological differences between advocates of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, as well as a power struggle for European political hegemony. This war brought about extensive devastation to Europe. Based on documentary evidence, this paper characterizes the climate, weather extremes, and economic and socio-political events in central Europe during that time. Natural climate forcing indicates a gradual climate deterioration during the first half of the 17th century, associated with a decrease in solar activity towards the Maunder Minimum and increased volcanic activity. The mean temperatures in central Europe from 1618 to 1648 were significantly colder than the reference period of 1961 to 1990 in winter, autumn, and annually, while precipitation and drought means did not differ significantly from the reference period. Summer temperatures, spring precipitation, and drought also exhibited significantly greater variability. As for weather extremes, particularly late winter, late spring and early autumn frosts, floods, intense rain spells, and droughts affected grain, fruit, and vine grape harvests, as well as the yields of other crops. These weather extremes contributed to various human impacts, such as food shortages (reflecting harvests and grain prices), famines, and epidemics. Ultimately, these events, along with the effects of the war, led to a decline in the population. The results obtained are discussed within the broader European context, taking into account climate, weather extremes, and socio-economic impacts.

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