PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (10): 1545-1554.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.10.012

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Review of climate reconstruction based on ancient diary

HUANG Yuan1, LI Beibei1,2, LI Zhongming1   

  1. 1. School of Language and Culture, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China;
    2. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2013-05-01 Revised:2013-08-01 Online:2013-10-25 Published:2013-10-24
  • Contact: 李蓓蓓(1984- ),女,讲师,主要从事环境演变、气象科技史等研究。E-mail:

Abstract: Climate change is an important issue in science research, which deeply influences the human society. The historical climate reconstruction is one topic, which can provide reference scenario for analyzing current climate variation and simulating the future climate change. There were many climate proxies from natural recorders of climate variability such as tree rings, ice cores, fossil pollen, ocean sediments, corals and historical data. The dairies are important historical data for historical climate reconstructions, and there have been lots of studies both at home and abroad. The dairies included the private dairy, the private note, and letter with detailed date. There were weather records, phenological informations, and climatic events in the dairies. Although the dairies have some shortcomings such as time gaps and omissions, place limitations and the author's wrong understanding, they are advanced in daily weather records for extracting the details of climate change and weather process during a period and at the local level. In additional, the dairy-based studies can contribute to verifying the high resolution sequence of paleoclimate based on other climate proxies. In this paper, the current dairy-based studies were reviewed from three aspects including reconstructions proxy, research method and research subject. The dairy-based studies usually used the days of rain and snow, the plant phenological period, the life experience records, and etc. These proxies can be divided into three types including quantitative proxy, semi-quantitative proxy, and qualitative proxy. The quantitative proxy can be counted and compared to the modern meteorological data. The semi-quantitative proxy was the record which reflected the range or the rank of the weather condition or climate phenomenon. The qualitative proxy mainly was the feeling of the people which was hard to be quantified. With the process of the research development, the method of dairy-based studies turns from the simple qualitative analysis method to quantify analysis method, like regression equation method. The conclusions were as follows: (1) The frequently-used proxies were the number of days and experience records both in home and aboard studies; and the domestic researches also used natural plant phenological period; and the foreign researches used wind direction and cloud cover as well. The reconstruction proxies were classifies to quantitative proxy, semi-quantitative proxy, and qualitative proxy. Both the domestic and foreign scholars used the quantitative proxy and qualitative proxy more frequently than semi-quantitative proxy. (2) The foreign and domestic academics usually applied the qualitative analysis method and quantitative transformation method. In the data verification, the foreign researches often chose instrumental data, and the domestic researches often used the official files and chorography. (3) The subjects of foreign researches mainly were the local temperature and precipitation, while the domestic studies not only focused on those but also studied dusty weather and precipitation characteristics during sand storm and plum rain period.The advantages of using diaries to reconstruct historical climate include the abundant details in climatic record, high time resolution and high veracity of the reconstruction result. In the future, the ancient diary research should enhance the quantitative transformation method and the verification with other proxies. As the diary-based reconstructions increasing and the method improving, there would be long climate series on large area, which will contribute to the historical climate research.

Key words: ancient diary, climate change, proxy, reconstruction