S. Brönnimann

S. Brönnimann
Universität Bern | UniBe · Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research

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341
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Publications

Publications (341)
Article
Full-text available
Annual-to-decadal variability in northern midlatitude temperature is dominated by the cold season. However, climate field reconstructions are often based on tree rings that represent the growing season. Here we present cold-season (October-to-May average) temperature field reconstructions for the northern midlatitudes, 1701-1905, based on extensive...
Preprint
Our current knowledge on snow depth trends is based almost exclusively on these non-homogenized data.Long-term observations of deposited snow are well suited as indicator of climate change. However, like all other long-term observations, they are prone to inhomogeneities that can influence and change trends if not taken into account. We investigate...
Preprint
A series of daily atmospheric flow over the British Isles (the Lamb weather types, LWT) is used to detect possible relationship in winters of the 20th century with the aa index, a proxy of solar activity, and the quasi-biennial oscillation of stratospheric winds (QBO). Our aim is to address different methodological flawns impairing the conclusions...
Article
Full-text available
The recovery of the ozone layer, which is expected as stratospheric chlorine levels have decreased over the past 25 years, remains difficult to detect. Column ozone has been monitored from 1924 to 1975 in Oxford, UK. Here, I present a century-long Oxford column ozone record, extended to the present based on re-discovered material and neighbouring s...
Article
Climate reconstructions have contributed tremendously to our understanding of changes in the climate system and will continue to do so. However, in climate science the focus has partly shifted away from past seasonal and annual mean climate towards weather variability and extreme events. Weather events are more directly relevant for climate impacts...
Article
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Knowledge concerning possible inhomogeneities in a data set is of key importance for any subsequent climatological analyses. Well-established relative homogenization methods developed for temperature and precipitation exist but have rarely been applied to snow-cover-related time series. We undertook a homogeneity assessment of Swiss monthly snow de...
Article
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Historical reanalyses have become a widely used resource for analyzing weather and climate processes and their changes over time. In this article I explore how further historical observations could support reanalyses and lead to products that reach further back in time or have a better quality. Using an off-line Ensemble Kalman Filter I estimate im...
Preprint
Knowledge concerning possible inhomogeneities in a data set is of key importance for any subsequent climatological analyses. Well-established relative homogenization methods developed for temperature and precipitation exist, but with only little experience for snow. We undertook a homogeneity assessment of Swiss snow depth series by running and com...
Preprint
The winter 1788/9 was one of the coldest winters Europe had witnessed in the past 300 years. Fortunately for historical climatologists, this extreme event occurred at a time when many stations across Europe, both private and as part of coordinated networks, were making quantitative observations of the weather. This means that several dozens of earl...
Preprint
Full-text available
European flood frequency and intensity change on a multidecadal scale. Floods were more frequent in the 19th (Central Europe) and early 20th century (Western Europe) than during the mid-20th century and again more frequent since the 1970s. The causes of this variability are not well understood and the relation to climate change is unclear. Palaeocl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Although collaborative efforts have been made to retrieve climate data from instrumental observations and paleoclimate records, there is still a large amount of valuable information in historical archives that has not been utilized for climate reconstruction. Due to the qualitative nature of these datasets, historical texts have been compiled and s...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, instrumental observations have become increasingly important in climate research, allowing past daily-to-decadal climate variability and weather extremes to be explored in greater detail. The 18th century saw the formation of several short-lived meteorological networks of which the one organised by the Societas Meteorologica Palati...
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This paper describes a global monthly gridded Sea Surface temperature (SST) and Sea Ice Concentration (SIC) dataset for the period 1000-1849, which can be used as boundary conditions for atmospheric model simulations. The reconstruction is based on existing coarse-resolution annual temperature ensemble reconstructions, which are then augmented with...
Article
Full-text available
Daily measurements of snow depth and snowfall can vary strongly over short distances. However, it is not clear if there is a seasonal dependence in these variations and how they impact common snow climate indicators based on mean values, as well as estimated return levels of extreme events based on maximum values. To analyse the impacts of local-sc...
Article
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The “1809 eruption” is one of the most recent unidentified volcanic eruptions with a global climate impact. Even though the eruption ranks as the third largest since 1500 with a sulfur emission strength estimated to be 2 times that of the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo, not much is known of it from historic sources. Based on a compilation of instrumenta...
Article
Heatwaves have been the deadliest weather extreme events in Europe in the last decades. People living in cities are especially prone to such events due to the urban heat island (UHI) effect which increases the heat stress in urban surroundings especially during calm, steady, and radiation intensive synoptic situations. Since official measurement st...
Article
Full-text available
Upper-air data form the backbone of weather analysis and reanalysis products, particularly in the pre-satellite era. However, they are particularly prone to errors and uncertainties, especially data from the early days of aerology. Information that allows us to better characterize the errors of radiosonde data is important. This paper reports on an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent years have seen early instrumental observations play an increasingly important role in climate research, allowing past daily-to-decadal climate variability and weather extremes to be explored in greater detail. The 18th century saw the formation of several short-lived meteorological networks of which the one organised by the Societas Meteoro...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Data assimilation techniques are becoming increasingly popular for climate reconstruction. They benefit from estimating past climate states from both observation information and from model simulations. The first monthly global paleo‐reanalysis (EKF400) was generated over the 1600 and 2005 time period, and it provides estimates of several a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Measurements of snow depth and snowfall on the daily scale can vary strongly over short distances. However, it is not clear if there is a seasonal dependence in these variations and how they impact common snow climate indicators based on mean values, as well as estimated return levels of extreme events based on maximum values. To analyse the impact...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the teleconnection between the boreal summer precipitation for the central highlands of Eritrea, with respect to global sea‐surface temperature (SST) and atmospheric parameters (winds, pressure, humidity, and vertical velocity) as indirect indicators of atmospheric circulation. The central‐highland summer (Jul–Aug) precipitation...
Article
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The understanding of intra-urban air temperature variations is crucial to assess strategies for cities' adaptation to impacts of present and future anthropogenic climate change. Depending on extensive measurement networks, high-resolution air temperature measurements in urban environments are challenging due to high instrumentation and maintenance...
Preprint
Full-text available
The 1809 eruption is one of the most recent unidentified volcanic eruptions with a global climate impact. Even though the eruption ranks as the 3rd largest since 1500 with an eruption magnitude estimated to be two times that of the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo, not much is known of it from historic sources. Based on a compilation of instrumental and r...
Preprint
Full-text available
Upper-air data form the backbone of weather analysis and reanalysis products, particularly in the pre-satellite era. However, they are particularly prone to errors and uncertainties, especially data from the early days of aerology. Information that allows to better characterize the errors of radiosonde data is important. This paper reports on an at...
Article
Full-text available
Measurements of urban air temperatures (Tair$T_{\text{air}}$) are vital to successful adaptation and mitigation policies to increasing urban heat stress. However, in-situ measurements in cities are often scarce and costly, and therefore low-cost approaches are increasingly used to study urban Tair$T_{\text{air}}$. This allows for inexpensive, yet s...
Article
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The performance of a new historical reanalysis, the NOAA-CIRES-DOE 20 th Century Reanalysis Version 3 (20CRv3), is evaluated via comparisons with other reanalyses and independent observations. This dataset provides global, 3-hourly estimates of the atmosphere from 1806 to 2015 by assimilating only surface pressure observations and prescribing sea s...
Article
Full-text available
Total column ozone measurements reach back almost a century. Historical column ozone data are important not only for obtaining a long-term perspective of changes of the ozone layer but arguably also as diagnostics of lower-stratospheric or tropopause-level flow in time periods of sparse upper-air observations. With the exception of a few high-quali...
Article
Full-text available
The development and dissemination of weather and climate information is crucial to improve people’s resilience and adaptability to climate variability and change. The impacts of climate variability and change are generally stronger for disadvantaged population groups due to their limited adaptive and coping capacities. For instance, smallholder fa...
Article
Full-text available
Snow on the ground is an important climate variable which is normally measured either as snow depth or height of new snow. Like any other meteorological variable, manually measured snow is prone to local influences, changes in the environment or procedure of the measurements. In order to investigate the robustness of snow measurement series towards...
Preprint
Full-text available
Total column ozone measurements reach back almost a century. Historical column ozone data are important to obtain a long term perspective of changes of the ozone layer, but arguably also as diagnostics of lower stratospheric or tropopause-level flow in time periods of sparse upper-air observations. With the exception of few high quality records suc...
Article
Full-text available
Data assimilation approaches such as the ensemble Kalman filter method have become an important technique for paleoclimatological reconstructions and reanalysis. Different sources of information, from proxy records and documentary data to instrumental measurements, were assimilated in previous studies to reconstruct past climate fields. However, pr...
Article
Full-text available
Differences between paleoclimatic reconstructions are caused by two factors: the method and the input data. While many studies compare methods, we will focus in this study on the consequences of the input data choice in a state-of-the-art Kalman-filter paleoclimate data assimilation approach. We evaluate reconstruction quality in the 20th century b...
Article
Day-to-day variations in surface air temperature affect society in many ways, but daily surface air temperature measurements are not available everywhere. Therefore, a global daily picture cannot be achieved with measurements made in situ alone and needs to incorporate estimates from satellite retrievals. This article presents the science developed...
Preprint
Full-text available
Climate science is about to produce numerical daily weather reconstructions based on meteorological measurements for Central Europe 250 years back. Using a pilot reconstruction covering Switzerland at 2 × 2 km2 resolution for 1816, this paper presents methods to translate numerical reconstructions and derived indices into text describing daily weat...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a dataset of recently digitised meteorological observations from 40 locations in today's Switzerland, covering the 18th and 19th centuries. Three fundamental variables – temperature, pressure, and precipitation – are provided in a standard format after they have been converted into modern units and quality-controlled. The raw data produ...
Article
Full-text available
Plain Language Summary Reanalyses are among the most widely used data sets in the geosciences as they provide a state of the atmosphere that is complete in both space and time by combining a state‐of‐the‐art weather prediction model with historical observations. Their applications range from climatological studies to the closer examination of extre...
Article
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We assessed future changes in spring frost risk for the Aare river catchment that comprises the Swiss Plateau, the most important agricultural region of Switzerland. An ensemble of 15 bias-corrected regional climate model (RCM) simulations from the EXAR data set forced by the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 concentration pathways were analysed for two future p...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial information on past weather contributes to better understanding the processes behind day-to-day weather variability and to assessing the risks arising from weather extremes. For Switzerland, daily resolved spatial information on meteorological parameters is restricted to the period starting from 1961, whereas prior to that local station obs...
Article
Full-text available
A global inventory of early instrumental meteorological measurements is compiled that comprises thousands of mostly nondigitized series, pointing to the potential of weather data rescue.
Article
Full-text available
Proxy-based studies suggest that the southwestern USA is affected by two types of summer drought, often termed Dust Bowl-type droughts and 1950s-type droughts. The spatial drought patterns of the two types are distinct. It has been suggested that they are related to different circulation characteristics, but a lack of observation-based data has pre...
Preprint
Full-text available
We describe a dataset of recently digitised meteorological observations from 40 locations in today's Switzerland, covering the 18th and 19th century. Three fundamental variables – temperature, pressure, and precipitation – are provided in a standard format, after they have been converted into modern units and quality controlled. The raw data produc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. Data assimilation approaches such as the ensemble Kalman filter method have become an important technique for paleoclimatological reconstructions and reanalysis. Different sources of information from proxy records and documentary data to instrumental measurements were assimilated in previous studies to reconstruct past climate fields. How...
Article
Full-text available
This review addresses the causes of observed climate variations across the industrial period, from 1750 to present. It focuses on long-term changes, both in response to external forcing and to climate variability in the ocean and atmosphere. A synthesis of results from attribution studies based on palaeoclimatic reconstructions covering the recent...
Article
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In 1970, the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern initiated the phenological observation network BernClim. Seasonality information from plants, fog and snow was originally available for applications in urban and regional planning and agricultural and touristic suitability and is now a valuable data set for climate change impact studies....
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. Spatial information on past weather contributes to better understand the processes behind day-to-day weather variability and to assess the risks arising from weather extremes. For Switzerland, daily-resolved spatial information on meteorological parameters is restricted to the period starting from 1961, whereas prior to that local station...
Preprint
Full-text available
We study the synoptic and mesoscale characteristics of a snowfall event over the Bolivian Altiplano in August 2013 that caused severe damage to people, infrastructure and livestock. This event was associated with a cold front episode following the eastern slope of the Andes-Amazon interface and a cut-off low pressure system (COL) over the Pacific O...
Article
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We describe a global dataset of quality‐controlled in situ daily air temperature observations covering the period 1850–2015, developed in the framework of the EUSTACE (EU Surface Temperature for All Corners of Earth) project (www.eustaceproject.org). The dataset includes a total of 35,364 daily series of maximum and minimum temperature obtained fro...
Article
Full-text available
Instrumental meteorological measurements from periods prior to the start of national weather services are designated “early instrumental data.” They have played an important role in climate research as they allow daily to decadal variability and changes of temperature, pressure, and precipitation, including extremes, to be addressed. Early instrume...
Article
Phenological data have become increasingly important as indicators of long-term climate change. Consequently, long-term homogeneity of the records is an important aspect. In this paper, we apply a breakpoint detection algorithm to the phenological series from the Swiss Phenology Network (SPN). A combination of three statistical tests is applied and...
Article
Full-text available
The European summer of 1816 has often been referred to as a ‘year without a summer’ due to anomalously cold conditions and unusual wetness, which led to widespread famines and agricultural failures. The cause has often been assumed to be the eruption of Mount Tambora in April 1815, however this link has not, until now, been proven. Here we apply st...
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
Differences between paleoclimatic reconstructions are caused by two main factors, the method and the input data. While many studies compare methods, we will focus in this study on the consequences of the input data choice in a state-of-the-art paleo data assimilation approach. We evaluate reconstruction quality based on three collections of tree-ri...
Article
Full-text available
Data assimilation has been adapted in paleoclimatology to reconstruct past climate states. A key component of some assimilation systems is the background-error covariance matrix, which controls how the information from observations spreads into the model space. In ensemble-based approaches, the background-error covariance matrix can be estimated fr...
Article
Full-text available
During the first half of the nineteenth century, several large tropical volcanic eruptions occurred within less than three decades. The global climate effects of the 1815 Tambora eruption have been investigated, but those of an eruption in 1808 or 1809 whose source is unknown and the eruptions in the 1820s and 1830s have received less attention. He...
Article
Full-text available
Multidecadal surface temperature changes may be forced by natural as well as anthropogenic factors, or arise unforced from the climate system. Distinguishing these factors is essential for estimating sensitivity to multiple climatic forcings and the amplitude of the unforced variability. Here we present 2,000-year-long global mean temperature recon...