Arabic Records Allow Past Climate to Be Reconstructed
Corals, trees and marine sediments, among others, are direct evidence of the climate of the past, but they are not the only indicators. A team led by Spanish scientists has interpreted records written in Iraq by Arabic historians for the first time and has made a chronology of climatic events from the year 816 to 1009, when cold waves and snow were normal.
The Arabic historians' records chronologically narrate social, political and religious matters, and some of them mention climate. A study led by researchers from the University of Extremadura (Spain) has focused on ancient meteorological notes of the Iraqi city of Baghdad.
"We have recovered an interesting chronology of climatic events, such as droughts, floods, rain, frost, heat and cold waves as well as strong winds during the period between 816-1009 in the areas now known as Iraq and Syria" Fernando Domínguez-Castro, lead author and researcher in the Physics department at the University of Extremadura, reported.
This study, which has been published in the 'Weather' journal, highlights a high number of cold waves. "The period between 902 and 944 had a high number if we compare them to current weather data. Examples of this are the six snowfalls that occurred in that period, whilst in our era, we only know of one snowfall in Baghdad on 11 January 2008" Domínguez-Castro highlights.
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Image credit: Dominguez-Castro et al.