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Comparative Analysis of Extreme Drought Events and Social Impacts in Henan Province during the Middle Ming Dynasty

Fangyu TianaFaculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

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Xudong ChenaFaculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

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Yun SuaFaculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
bKey Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

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Abstract

The analysis of historical climate change events can deepen the understanding of climate impacts and provide historical examples of coping with extreme events like drought. The data from historical records on droughts and famines were collected during the Chenghua drought (AD 1483–85), Jiajing drought (AD 1527–29), and Wanli drought (AD 1584–89) in Henan Province in the middle Ming Dynasty. Based on this, the average drought index (ADI), average famine index (AFI) and the average social regulation index (ASRI) were defined to quantitatively explore the differences in the social impacts of extreme droughts. The results were as follows: 1) As for ADI, the Wanli drought was the most severe (1.59), followed by the Jiajing drought (1.21) and the Chenghua drought (1.02). In terms of AFI, the famine conditions were the most severe during the Jiajing drought (0.43), followed by Chenghua drought (0.30) and the Wanli drought (0.15). 2) The ASRI values in the Chenghua drought, Jiajing drought, and Wanli drought were 3.90, 3.90, and 4.54, respectively. It could be concluded society showed the highest social regulation ability during the Wanli drought and showed the same level of the two other droughts. However, for the key years, the social regulation ability of the Jiajing drought was higher than that of Chenghua drought, especially in the alleviation of low-grade drought. 3) From historical documents, the progress of agricultural technology, the progress of famine relief policy, and the change in relief supplies greatly improved the social ability to cope with the extreme drought events.

Significance Statement

The analysis of extreme drought events in the past is important for understanding the interactions between human activities and natural variability, and its impact on society, economy, and even politics. Our goal is to explore the changes of ability to cope with extreme droughts through the statistical relationship of drought and famine in the three extreme drought events in Henan during the middle Ming Dynasty. The results showed that the social regulation ability of Henan to cope with extreme drought was significantly strengthened. Progress in agriculture and famine policy, and so on, had an important role in promoting the development of social regulation ability. How to improve the quantitative method for the social regulation by social impacts requires further research.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Yun Su, suyun@bnu.edu.cn

Abstract

The analysis of historical climate change events can deepen the understanding of climate impacts and provide historical examples of coping with extreme events like drought. The data from historical records on droughts and famines were collected during the Chenghua drought (AD 1483–85), Jiajing drought (AD 1527–29), and Wanli drought (AD 1584–89) in Henan Province in the middle Ming Dynasty. Based on this, the average drought index (ADI), average famine index (AFI) and the average social regulation index (ASRI) were defined to quantitatively explore the differences in the social impacts of extreme droughts. The results were as follows: 1) As for ADI, the Wanli drought was the most severe (1.59), followed by the Jiajing drought (1.21) and the Chenghua drought (1.02). In terms of AFI, the famine conditions were the most severe during the Jiajing drought (0.43), followed by Chenghua drought (0.30) and the Wanli drought (0.15). 2) The ASRI values in the Chenghua drought, Jiajing drought, and Wanli drought were 3.90, 3.90, and 4.54, respectively. It could be concluded society showed the highest social regulation ability during the Wanli drought and showed the same level of the two other droughts. However, for the key years, the social regulation ability of the Jiajing drought was higher than that of Chenghua drought, especially in the alleviation of low-grade drought. 3) From historical documents, the progress of agricultural technology, the progress of famine relief policy, and the change in relief supplies greatly improved the social ability to cope with the extreme drought events.

Significance Statement

The analysis of extreme drought events in the past is important for understanding the interactions between human activities and natural variability, and its impact on society, economy, and even politics. Our goal is to explore the changes of ability to cope with extreme droughts through the statistical relationship of drought and famine in the three extreme drought events in Henan during the middle Ming Dynasty. The results showed that the social regulation ability of Henan to cope with extreme drought was significantly strengthened. Progress in agriculture and famine policy, and so on, had an important role in promoting the development of social regulation ability. How to improve the quantitative method for the social regulation by social impacts requires further research.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Yun Su, suyun@bnu.edu.cn
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