Analysis and Interpretation: Temperature and Precipitation Indices

  • Christian Pfister
  • Chantal Camenisch
  • Petr Dobrovolný


This chapter introduces the methodology and applications of indexing temperature and precipitation from narrative and proxy sources. Monthly and seasonal indices provide a critical link between historical weather descriptions and quantitative climate reconstruction and analysis. Best practices in indexing, as they were developed in the late twentieth century, require careful handling of data, as well as close familiarity with relevant source material and local climates. Several examples demonstrate the utility of indexing for extending high-resolution temperature and precipitation series, and for demonstrating climate impacts on agriculture and prices.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Pfister
    • 1
  • Chantal Camenisch
    • 1
  • Petr Dobrovolný
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of History, Oeschger Centre for Climate ChangeBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of GeographyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Global Change Research Institute, Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic

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