Reconstruction of Storm Frequency in the North Sea Area during the Pre-industrial Period, 1400 to 1700 and the Connection with Reconstructed Time Series of Temperatures


  • Adriaan M.J. de Kraker Vrije Universiteit


This paper shows how the reconstructed time series of storm frequency of the polder area west of Antwerp is extended back in time as early as 1400. It also shows how this time series1 is verified by giving it a wider reach, including the entire Belgian and Zeeland Flanders coast. This area is of specific interest for the study of storminess, because it is very vulnerable to northern and western storms and gales, and apart from that tides rise higher in this southern part of the North Sea, especially in the estuary of the Westerschelde. Knowledge of storm frequency throughout the period 1400-1625 is of interest in order to understand the forcing of the North Atlantic Oscillation which very strongly affects weather patterns in Western and Central Europe. At the same time a reconstruction of storm frequency over a longer period enables us to have an insight in weather extremes then and how this weather pattern compares to our present climate. Although there is a connection between the variability of storminess and rainfall in specific areas, no reconstructed time series of rainfall of that period are available yet. Only several time series of temperature reconstruction enable us to find connections with our reconstructed time series of storm frequency. In order to have high quality data that is representative for both a long period and a wider area, mainly written sources have been studied that deal with the impact of stormy weather. First these specific sources will be discussed within their historical context, then the kinds of proxy data they yield will be dealt with and after that the method that was initially developed will be explained. Finally, the main results will be highlighted and recommendations for future research will be made.






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