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Reconstruction of drought episodes for central Spain from rogation ceremonies recorded at the Toledo Cathedral from 1506 to 1900: A methodological approach

Domínguez Castro, Fernando and Santisteban , Juan I. and Barriendos, Mariano and Mediavilla López, Rosa María (2008) Reconstruction of drought episodes for central Spain from rogation ceremonies recorded at the Toledo Cathedral from 1506 to 1900: A methodological approach. Global and Planetary Change, 63 . pp. 230-242. ISSN 0921-8181

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Abstract

Rogation (ceremonies to ask God for rain: pro-pluvia, or to stop raining: pro-serenitate) analysis is an
effective method to derive information about climate extremes from documentary data. Weighted annual
sum by levels has been a widespread technique to analyze such data but this analysis is liable to be biased to
spring values as these ceremonies are strongly related to farming activities. The analysis of the length of propluvia
periods (the time span during which rogations are carried out in relation to a drought event) and the
combination of annual and seasonal information offers a more objective criterion for the analysis of the
drought periods and an increase in the resolution of the study.
Analysis by the pro-pluvia periods method of the rogation series from the Toledo (central Spain) Cathedral
Chapter allows a good characterization of the droughts during the 1506–1900 period. Two drought maxima
appear during the 1600–1675 and 1711–1775 periods, characterized by rogations during almost all the year,
with a middle stage (1676–1710) when droughts were less frequent and their length shortened.
Sea level pressure patterns for the instrumental and documentary periods show that droughts were mostly
related to a north-eastern position of the Azores High that displaced the Atlantic lowpressure systems towards
a northern position. There is a weak relation with the North Atlantic Oscillation but this fact is related to the
local character of the series that increases the weight of the local factors.
Comparison of rainfall/drought records around Spain and theWestern Mediterranean reveals the heterogeneity
of their distribution in time and space as well as stresses the need of more and longer reconstructions. Better
knowledge of drought variability would help to improve regional models of climate extremes and the understanding
of the atmospheric patterns related to their development.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Rogation ceremonies; Mediterranean climate extremes; Drought central Spain SPI
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:12441
Deposited On:18 Mar 2011 12:22
Last Modified:18 Mar 2011 12:22

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