Pavel Matejovič: Winter A.D. 1500-2010


Winter 1500-2010 AD


The book, entitled Winter 1500-2010 AD, deals with the history and features of winters in Europe and in Slovakia since approx. 1500 to 2010. Special attention is paid to particularly hard winters. In addition, circulation processes of mild winters in the second half of the 20th century are  studied and compared with a circulation patterns during the cold winters of so-called little ice age.
Although winter is analyzed mainly from the meteorological and climatologic point of view, cultural history of climate is also mentioned. This approach is taken in the particular part where  methods are discussed which were used for reconstruction of winters before the onset of instrumental meteorological observations. Those parts are mainly based on the work of Jörg Luterbacher, Rudolf Brázdil and Dario Camuffo. Occasionally, the historical response to the severe winters in the arts, literature and daily newspapers is also mentioned. There are many articles, scientific studies and monographs in the Czech and Slovak meteorological literature, focused on climatologic and meteorological analysis of winter. Amongst the first important titles dealing with winter, there is the text published in the Vesmír (1929) journal by Czech meteorologist Rudolf Schneider, the first director of the Czechoslovak State Meteorological Institute. It analyzed the extremely severe winter 1928/1929. Severe winters 1962/1963 and 1963/1964 were described  by Slovak climatologist Mikuláš Konček in popular-science papers published in the journal  Svet vedy. In the sixties of the twentieth century, Štefan Petrovič  made statistical evaluation of winters in the Oravský Podzámok (1850-1960). Much attention been paid by scientific journals to the last a very cold winter of 1984/1985. Reference is listed at the end of title.
This work is focused on the analysis of winters from the point of view of prevailing circulation processes. Winters are treated chronologically, but also an attempt has been made to identify characteristics that are typical for each winter (the predominant circulation types, oscillations in large scale atmospheric circulation, influence of geographical conditions on the course of winters, etc.).  Circulation processes in particular have an immediate impact on the winter temperatures  throughout the reporting period (1500-2010). They might have been partially influenced by the fluctuations of solar and geomagnetic activity, increased volcanic activity, changes in the large areas of oceanic circulation and by other random and chaotic processes. In the current literature there is a tendency to stress feedback and interactions between different impacts and systems, as well as their cumulative and synergistic effects. Particular attention is paid to the historical overview of winters from about the mid-17th to the late 19th century. Separate chapters are devoted to winters during Maunder minimum (1645-1715) and to severe winters 1739/1740, 1783/1784 and 1829/1830. Although this period is referred to as the "Little Ice Age", we assume it is a part of natural fluctuations in climate. There are no continuous meteorological observations available in Slovakia during this period. The longest uninterrupted series of meteorological observations in Slovakia is from Hurbanovo, where instrumental measurements started in 1871. Therefore, the winters during the "little ice age" are discussed mainly from the perspective of Central Europe (Prague, Vienna, Krakow, Berlin) and the British Isles. In the section devoted to winters of 20th century, severe winters (1928/1929, 1939/1940, 1941/1942, 1963/1964, 1978/1979, 1984/1985, 1986/1987) are reviewed, but also  processes related to climate change were taken into account. Attention is focused primarily on extreme weather phenomenons in winter (heavy frost, blizzard, storms).  
In the last chapter we try to answer the question whether it is possible – taking into account the climate change - to estimate the temperature trend in future winters. There is brief statistical evaluation of winters and their climatologic classification in the annex.The work is based on  known meteorological and climatologic research of winter period, updated and completed using new information from archives and electronic databases of the national meteorological services freely available to the public on the internet. Particularly, data from the scientific agencies and meteorological organizations in the U.S., England and the Netherlands (NOAA, NCAR, Met Office, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) and the European Centre ECMWF weather forecasts were used.The book is dedicated not only to professionals but also to the public  interested in weather and climate. Therefore, it does not have a characteristics of a strictly scientific monograph.


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