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CR 49:189-200 (2011)  -  DOI:

Historical perspective of drought response in central-southern Italy

Nazzareno Diodato1,*, Gianni Bellocchi1,2

1Met European Research Observatory, GEWEX-CEOP Network—World Climate Research Programme, via Monte Pino,
82100 Benevento, Italy
2Grassland Ecosystem Research Unit, French National Institute of Agricultural Research, Site of Crouël,
234 Avenue du Brézet, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France

ABSTRACT: We studied drought records from a large documentary heritage (1581–2007) of central‑southern Italy, encompassing the Little Ice Age (LIA), the transitory period (1870–1920) after the LIA, and the recent warming period. Drought conditions were reconstructed via weather indices, and historical written records of the effects on agriculture and living conditions were taken as proxies of drought coding. Wet–dry cycles were analyzed via wavelet power spectrum for localization of climate signals and showed pronounced interannual variation, along with multidecadal oscillations of drought regimes. For the LIA, fluctuations between dry and wet conditions were observed, with less frequency of intermediate states (between the wettest and the driest years) than in recent times. Distinct 11 and 22 yr timeframes that tend to respectively reflect single and double sunspot cycles were identified. The long-term oscillations were intriguingly coupled with large atmospheric pressure pulsations in the central Mediterranean, although the correlation patterns between drought magnitude and large-scale forcing were unevenly distributed.

KEY WORDS: Documentary data · Drought · Little Ice Age · Central-southern Italy

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Cite this article as: Diodato N, Bellocchi G (2011) Historical perspective of drought response in central-southern Italy. Clim Res 49:189-200.

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