Cherry blossom phenological data since the seventeenth century for Edo (Tokyo), Japan, and their application to estimation of March temperatures

Abstract

The changes in March mean temperatures in Edo (Tokyo), Japan, since the seventeenth century, were reconstructed using phenological data for the cherry blossoms of Prunus jamasakura deduced from old diaries and chronicles. The observations of the time of full blossoming and of cherry blossom viewing parties were acquired and used to construct a full-blossoming phenological data series for P. jamasakura. Phenological data from 207 of the years from 1601 to 1905 were used for this study. The reconstructed temperatures suggested the existence of two cold periods (the second half of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century), during which times the estimated March mean temperatures were about 4 °C and 5 °C, respectively. These two cold periods at Edo coincided with those reconstructed at Kyoto in previous studies. These cold periods coincided with two less extreme periods, the Maunder and Dalton minima, in the long-term solar variation cycle.

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Acknowledgments

This research was partially supported by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), 23501247) from 2011 to 2014.

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Correspondence to Yasuyuki Aono.

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Aono, Y. Cherry blossom phenological data since the seventeenth century for Edo (Tokyo), Japan, and their application to estimation of March temperatures. Int J Biometeorol 59, 427–434 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-014-0854-0

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Keywords

  • Climate reconstruction
  • Edo (Tokyo)
  • Phenology
  • Cherry blossom
  • Prunus jamasakura
  • Solar variation