, Volume 113, Issue 1-2, pp 187-196

Mixed nonlinear regression for modelling historical temperatures in Central–Southern Italy

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Abstract

This paper has exploited, for Central and Southern Italy (Mediterranean Sub-regional Area), an unprecedented historical dataset as an attempt to model seasonal (winter and summer) air temperatures in pre-instrumental time (back to 1500). Combining information derived from proxy–documentary data and large-scale simulation, a statistical downscaling approach in the form of mixed regression model was developed to adapt larger-scale estimations (regional component) to the sub-regional temperature pattern (local component). It interprets local temperature anomalies by means of monthly based Temperature Anomaly Scaled Index in the range −5 (very cold conditions in June) to 2 (very warm conditions). The modelled response agrees well with the independent data from the validation sample (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient, >0.60). The advantage of the approach is not merely increased accuracy in estimation. Rather, it relies on the ability to extract (and exploit) the right information to replicate coherent temperature series in historical times.