PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (4): 483-490.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.04.009

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Basic features of phenological records in poetry and their usage for reconstructing past climate change

Yachen LIU1,2(), Xiuqi FANG2, Zexing TAO1,2,3, Junhu DAI1,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2016-07-01 Online:2017-04-20 Published:2017-04-20
  • Contact: Junhu DAI;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41427805, No.41430528, No.41171043


Phenological records in historical documents have been proved to be of unique value for studies on past climate change. As a literary genre, poetry includes abundant phenological records that have been extracted and applied to a certain extent. However, the features of phenological records from poems and their processing methods need to be further summarized and discussed systematically. This article first introduces the contents, characteristics, and applications in indicating seasons and reflecting farming season of phenological records from poems. The phenological records in poems can be divided mainly into three categories, namely phenological information of plants, phenological information of animals, and seasonality of meteorological or hydrological events. Relatively more data are found in poems from recent dynasties and developed regions. Four key processing methods of phenological records from poems — data sieving, species identification, chronology recognition, and phenophases definition — are discussed: (1) phenological records extracted from poems need to be sieved based on the background of poems, the usage of rhetorical devices, the rule of territorial differentiation, and the disturbance of factitious factors; (2) modern and ancient names of plants and animals should be distinguished and the species of plants and animals should be identified; (3) phenological dates need to be converted into accurate dates according to phenological law and background information; and (4) phenophases ought to be defined according to the semantics of description in the poems on the basis of modern phenological observation methods. By summarizing and discussing these key issues, this article aims to provide a reference in both theory and method for the extraction and application of phenological records from poems for the reconstruction of past climate.

Key words: poetry, historical phenology, past climate change, record extraction, climate reconstruction