The Basis: Past Climate Observations and Methods

  • Stefan Brönnimann
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 55)


If you are worried about a thunderstorm forming near your town, if snowfall is imminent, if an El Niño event builds up in the Pacific, or if media reports that a heatwave strikes Australia, you can find a large amount of real-time information on weather and climate on the Internet. Just a few mouse clicks away, you will find observations, analyses, model simulations, satellite images, Radar data, and many other products (Fig. 2.1). Where does information on the atmosphere come from, what does it really tell us, and how can we today explore the weather patterns of the 18th century? In this chapter, we will cover these questions, starting with some general considerations of weather observations and measurements, the present day observing system, and historical climate observations. We cover uncertainties and problems in climate data and see how models can be used to learn about past climate and how they can be combined with observations. This chapter also covers climate proxies and the methods used to derive climate information from these proxies. Finally, this chapter concludes with a more detailed description of those datasets that form the basis of many of the analyses that follow in Chaps. 3 and 4.


Data Assimilation Tree Ring Tree Ring Width Total Column Ozone National Weather Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Brönnimann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of GeographyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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