Backward Seasons, Droughts and Other Bioclimatic Indicators of Variability

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Abstract

Phenoclimatic fluctuations, biorhythms and agricultural patterns are intricately linked to the local meteorological conditions, and over time to the climate of a region. Many of these patterns were captured in the daily journal entries of diarists in the New England states of Vermont and New Hampshire in the pre-digital era. This chapter focuses on the data available from these states in the 1680–1900 time period. It presents an analysis of backward season characteristics and the concomitant influences on frost occurrences, sugar maple production and the onset of drought. The results demonstrate a unique application of historical data to reveal long-term spatial and topographic patterns. An indicator-based drought index also reveals spatio-temporal comparisons across the region, including some persistent severe droughts in the 1700s not apparent in the last century.