Geografie 2010, 115, 266-283

Extreme summer and winter temperatures in the Czech Lands after A.D. 1500 and their Central European context

Petr Dobrovolný1, Rudolf Brázdil1, Oldřich Kotyza2, Hubert Valášek3

1Masaryk University, Faculty of Science, Institute of Geography, Kotlářská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czechia
2Regional Museum, Dlouhá 179, 412 01 Litoměřice, Czechia
3Moravian Land Archives, Palachovo nám. 1, 625 00 Brno, Czechia

Received November 2009
Accepted May 2010

Extremely cold/mild winters (DJF) and extremely cold/warm summers (JJA) in the Czech Lands were derived from series of temperature indices based on documentary evidence (1500–1854) and from series of air temperatures measured at the Prague-Klementinum station (1771–2007) over the past 500 years. Altogether 24 cold winters, 23 mild winters, 18 cold summers and 21 warm summers emerged. Czech extremes were compared with the Central European temperature series and series of documentary-based temperature indices for the Low Countries, Germany and Switzerland. Analysis of composite sea level pressure fields confirms advection of cold air from the north-west (extremely cold summers) or from the east (extremely cold winters). Mild winters are related to warm airflow from the west or south-west and extremely warm summers to the influence of high pressure related to the Azores High. Spatial correlations of extremes for winters proved better than for summers. We demonstrate that documentary evidence explains temperature variability for winter better than it does for the other seasons.


This paper was prepared with financial support from Czech Science Foundation project No. P209/10/0309 Effect of historical climatic and hydrometeorological extremes on slope and fluvial processes in the Western Beskydy Mts. and their forefield.


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