Christian Pfister

Christian Pfister
Universität Bern | UniBe · Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research

PhD

About

216
Publications
81,609
Reads
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8,108
Citations
Citations since 2016
23 Research Items
2977 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
Additional affiliations
September 2009 - present
Universität Bern
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Description
  • Research on past climatic change mostly on the basis of documentary evidence. Focussing on extreme droughts Setting up the Euro-Climhist Data base (to be publicly re launched in October 2015

Publications

Publications (216)
Article
Full-text available
Droughts and heatwaves are both dangerous natural hazards with a potential significant impact on human societies. In order to understand these hazards, it is important to examine such extreme events in the past. During the years 1471 to 1474, warm and dry weather conditions are described in most parts of Europe. Until now, these extraordinary years...
Article
Full-text available
Records of grape harvest dates (GHDs) are the oldest and the longest continuous phenological data in Europe. However, many available series, including the well-known (Dijon) Burgundy series, are error prone because scholars so far have uncritically drawn the data from 19th century publications instead of going back to the archives. The GHDs from th...
Article
Full-text available
Records of grape harvest dates (GHD) are the oldest and the longest continuous phenological data in Europe. However, many available series including the well-known (Dijon) Burgundy series are error prone, because scholars so far uncritically drew the data from nineteenth century publications instead of going back to the archives. The GHD from the f...
Chapter
Full-text available
his paper provides coherent evidence on what Europe might expect in the case of a worst-case heat and drought event The record-breaking heat in 1540 was an analogous case to the 2003 event, albeit more intense, longer lasting and affecting a !arger area-extending from France to Poland and from ltaly to Germany, also including Spain and Morocco. Bot...
Article
When investigating the well-being of a society, the living conditions of females are of special importance, not only due to the immediate impact for those directly involved, but also because of the potential intergenerational effects. Studying the dimorphism in the mean height helps to depict variation in the basic biological sex difference due to...
Article
Full-text available
Severe climatic anomalies in summer 1816, partly due to the eruption of Tambora in April 1815, contributed to delayed growth and poor harvests of important crops in Central Europe. Coinciding with adverse socio-economic conditions, this event triggered the last subsistence crisis in the western World. Here, we model reductions in potential crop yie...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Euro-Climhist data base (http://www.euroclimhist.unibe.ch/de)/ presents evidence about weather and climate in space and time mostly originating from the archives of societies. It facilitates the cross-checking of proxy data with contemporaneous high-resolution narrative weather reports. Contemporary and non-contemporary data are distinguished f...
Chapter
The year 1540 is known in German cultural history for the persecution of alleged arsonists (Mordbrenner) blamed for starting frequent town, village, and forest fires . Most fires were related to a ten-month long and Europe-wide record-breaking heat wave and drought . Proceeding from the blaze of the German town in Einbeck which resulted in a confes...
Article
Full-text available
Bei der Erstellung der Gefahrenkataster und -karten zur Umsetzung der Wald- und Wasserbaugesetzgebung spielt die Kenntnis von vor- und frühinstrumentellen Extrem ereignissen eine zentrale Rolle. Die Witterungs- und Klimageschichte dokumentiert die natürliche Klimavariabilität vor dem Einsetzen der globalen Erwärmung, nicht zuletzt sehr seltene Extr...
Article
Full-text available
There is strong evidence that the year 1540 was exceptionally dry and warm in Central Europe. Here we infer 1540 summer temperatures from the number of dry days (NDDs) in spring (March–May) and summer (June–August) in 1540 derived from historical documentary evidence published elsewhere, and compare our estimates with present-day temperatures. We t...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The global obesity epidemic continues, new approaches are needed to understand the causes. We analyzed data from an evolutionary perspective, stressing developmental plasticity. Methods: We present diachronical height, weight, and BMI data for 702,902 Swiss male conscripts aged 18-20 years, a representative, standardized and unchanged...
Book
Full-text available
Conflicts over food, energy and resources in general were an essential aspect of the First World War. Although formally neutral in the war, Switzerland could not escape from this. Its open economy and its dependency on imports of everyday goods made the country vulnerable and changed the course of the war. Nevertheless these aspects have not yet be...
Article
Full-text available
The spatial context is critical when assessing present-day climate anomalies, attributing them to potential forcings and making statements regarding their frequency and severity in a long-term perspective. Recent international initiatives have expanded the number of high-quality proxy-records and developed new statistical reconstruction methods. Th...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper provides coherent evidence on what Europe might expect in the case of a worst-case heat and drought event. The record-breaking heat in 1540 was an analogue case to the 2003 event, albeit it was more intense, longer lasting and affecting a larger area extending from France to Poland and from Italy to Germany, also including Spain and Moro...
Article
Full-text available
The 1815 eruption of Tambora caused an unusually cold summer in much of Europe in 1816. The extreme weather led to poor harvests and malnutrition, but also demonstrated the capability of humans to adapt and help others in worse conditions. L arge volcanic eruptions in the tropics can temporarily alter climate around the world, causing global coolin...
Article
Full-text available
The 1815 eruption of Tambora caused an unusually cold summer in much of Europe in 1816. The extreme weather led to poor harvests and malnutrition, but also demonstrated the capability of humans to adapt and help others in worse conditions. L arge volcanic eruptions in the tropics can temporarily alter climate around the world, causing global coolin...
Article
Full-text available
The international standardisation of national meteorological networks in the late nineteenth century excluded biotic and abiotic observations from the objects to be henceforth published in the yearbooks. Skilled amateurs being in charge of three meteorological stations in Canton Schaffhausen (Switzerland) and their successors managed to continuousl...
Article
Full-text available
The heat waves of 2003 in Western Europe and 2010 in Russia, commonly labelled as rare climatic anomalies outside of previous experience, are often taken as harbingers of more frequent extremes in the global warming-influenced future. However, a recent reconstruction of spring-summer temperatures for WE resulted in the likelihood of significantly h...
Data
27 Der Aufsatz setzt das Abfallprofil einer Gesellschaft zu ihren dominanten Energiequellen, ihrem Grundwerk-stoff und den relativen Preisen von Arbeit und Energie in Beziehung. Diesbezüglich unterscheidet er zwischen Agrargesellschaft, Industriegesellschaft und Konsum-gesellschaft. Der Übergang von der Industriegesellschaft zur Konsumgesellschaft...
Article
Full-text available
The heat waves of 2003 in Western Europe and 2010 in Russia, commonly labelled as rare climatic anomalies outside of previous experience, are often taken as harbingers of more frequent extremes in the global warming-influenced future. However, a recent reconstruction of spring–summer temperatures for WE resulted in the likelihood of significantly h...
Article
Full-text available
The heat waves of 2003 in Western Europe and 2010 in Russia, commonly labelled as rare climatic anomalies outside of previous experience, are often taken as harbingers of more frequent extremes in the global warming-influenced future. However, a recent Climatic Change (2014) 125:349-363 351 weather report sources originating from an area of 2 to 3...
Data
The heat of summer 2003 in Western and Cen-tral Europe was claimed to be unprecedented since the Mid-dle Ages on the basis of grape harvest data (GHD) and late wood maximum density (MXD) data from trees in the Alps. This paper shows that the authors of these studies overlooked the fact that the heat and drought in Switzerland in 1540 likely exceede...
Article
Full-text available
The heat of summer 2003 in Western and Cen-tral Europe was claimed to be unprecedented since the Mid-dle Ages on the basis of grape harvest data (GHD) and late wood maximum density (MXD) data from trees in the Alps. This paper shows that the authors of these studies overlooked the fact that the heat and drought in Switzerland in 1540 likely exceede...
Article
Full-text available
Am Zentrum für Evolutionäre Medi-zin (Anatomisches Institut) und am Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Zürich werden seit einigen Jahren die historischen und modernen medizinischen Daten der Aushebungen in der Schweiz und in Deutschland untersucht. Anthropo-metrische Daten der Rekrutierung bieten die Möglichkeit, in repräsen-tativer...
Data
Full-text available
Two European temperature reconstructions for the past half-millennium, January-to-April air temperature for Stockholm (Sweden) and seasonal temperature for a Central European region, both derived from the analysis of documentary sources and long instrumental records, are compared with the output of climate simulations with the model ECHO-G. The ana...
Data
Full-text available
Past climate variations in the pre-instrumental period can be estimated from different kinds of proxy data. Apart from natural proxy archives, important information can be found in documentary non-instrumental man-made sources, primarily for Europe and a few other regions with a long tradition of keeping documentary records related to weather and c...
Data
Full-text available
The paper presents a qualitative and quantitative analysis of flood variability and forcing of major European rivers since AD 1500. We compile and investigate flood reconstructions which are based on documentary evidence for twelve Central European rivers and for eight Mediterranean rivers. Flood variability and underlying climatological causes are...
Data
Full-text available
We use long instrumental temperature series together with available field reconstructions of sea-level pressure (SLP) and three-dimensional climate model simulations to analyze relations between temperature anomalies and atmospheric circulation patterns over much of Europe and the Mediterranean for the late winter/early spring (January–April, JFMA...
Data
Download the dataset here: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/historical/europe/switzerland/swiss-phenology2007.xls
Data
We present an annually resolved record of grape harvest dates for Switzerland. The strong negative relationship between grape harvest dates and April-August temperatures allowed a new reconstruction, with associated uncertainties, to be derived back to 1480. Calibration (1928-1979) was performed with monthly data from the Basel and Geneva stations...
Article
This paper presents the first annually resolved temperature reconstruction for England in the Middle Ages. To effect this reconstruction the starting date of the grain harvest in Norfolk has been employed as a temperature proxy. Using c. 1,000 manorial accounts from Norfolk, 616 dates indicating the onset of the grain harvest were extracted for the...
Article
Full-text available
This paper challenges the argument obtained from the analysis of grape harvest (GHD) and maximum latewood density (MXD) data that the 2003 heat-wave in Western Europe was the most extreme warm anomaly in the last millennium. We have evidence that the heat and drought in 1540 known from numerous contemporary narrative documentary reports is not adeq...