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S. Lindgrén and J. Neumann

In November 1854, in an early phase of the Crimean War (September 1854–February 1856), two meteorological events occurred that had important effects. The first was an intense fog on the 5th, and the second an unusually violent storm on the 14th.

It so happened that the Russians launched their first major assault on the Allies (British, French, and Turkish forces) in the early hours of the 5th, without foreseeing the formation of fog. Forty thousand Russian troops attacked the Mt. Inkerman area of the Crimea, which was defended by a small British force of 3000. The fog greatly helped the Russians conceal the start of the attack from the Allies until they were at close range to the British. But the fog “assisted” the British, too, insofar as it made the Allies fail to realize the multitude of the Russian force. This failure helped the British keep up their fighting morale until a few hours later when reinforcements, predominantly French, brought about a turn in the battle's tide. The great losses on both sides of the front led to a reduction in warlike operations for some time.

On the 14th an unusually intense storm crossed the Black Sea-Crimea area causing heavy losses and damage to the Allied navies and much suffering to the troops on land. According to British ship reports, the wind reached force 11 on the Beaufort scale (103–120 km/h). The British lost 21 ships or vessels and additional ones were dismasted; the French lost 16, including the battleship Henri IV, the “pride of the French Navy”; the Russians' losses were light. The great losses of the Allies (ammunition, warm clothing, food, fodder, etc., in the ships) and the suffering of their land forces resulted in a notable reduction in fighting activities for some weeks. The loss of the battleship Henri IV prompted the French Minister of War to ask Le Verrier, the great French astronomer, to institute an inquiry to determine if the approach of the storm could have been foreshadowed and the Navy warned in time. This inquiry led to a significant leap in the development of the synoptic weather reporting network.

The present authors have consulted unpublished logbooks of 10 British ships and republish the logbook of a Russian battleship, little-known in the West. Other original, unpublished material includes the British Commander-in- Chief's report on naval losses through the storm in the Balaklava area.

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S. Lindgren and J. Neumann

In the 17th century, the small Dutch Republic, the union of seven provinces of the northern part of the Low Countries, was the most important country in the world in matters of finance, commerce, and shipping (as well as in the arts, especially painting). Within the Republic, Amsterdam wielded most of the economic power. Louis XIV, King of France, whose rule was characterized by expansionist tendencies, began a war against the Republic in June 1672 (war actually was declared in April of that year). France and her allies, eastern neighbors of the Republic, sent an invading army of about 150 000, as against a hastily collected and poorly trained defense force of 50 000–60 000 Dutch led by Prince William of Orange, who became William III of Holland in July 1672 and King William III of England in 1689.

The spring of 1672 was dry and, as a result, the water level in the rivers was low, a fact that facilitated the crossing of water courses by the hostile forces. Within less than a month, most of the eastern sector of the Republic was captured by the invaders. In order to prevent the penetration of the French into the province of Holland, in which Amsterdam was situated, the Dutch resorted to inundating much of their low-lying lands, creating a kind of moat, roughly 20 km wide, about Amsterdam. The French, who were not equipped for crossing wide water areas, decided to wait until the winter when, so they hoped, the cold would freeze the flooded areas and make it possible for them to reach Amsterdam. However, the winter of 1672–73 turned out to be mild on the whole. On 13 December, a frost set in that does not appear to have been excessive. On 27 December, the French began their advance across the ice, but on the 28th the winds turned from east to west and the milder air and rains caused the ice to thaw. The French returned to their former positions, but with difficulty, losing many men in the process. January was mild altogether. As a result of the mild winter, Amsterdam was saved from French conquest.

Our estimates of air temperatures for the two critical months are: December 1672, 3.3°C; and January 1673, 3.4°C. The observed averages for 1735–1834 at Utrecht-DeBilt, however, were 2.4°C and 0.5°C, respectively. Thus, both of the two months of concern appear to have been relatively warm, especially January.

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G. S. LINDGREN

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G. S. Lindgren
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S. Lindgrén and J. Neumann

Abstract

James II, King of England from 1685 to 1688, increasingly antagonized his people by his forced attempts to restore the Catholic faith to a position of eminence in England; many of his actions were contrary to acts passed by earlier Parliaments (he ruled without Parliament most of his reign). Leading dignitaries of the Church of England, of the Protestant nobility, and some of the high officers of the Army and Navy came to the conclusion that the only remedy to the country's ills was to call in William, the Prince of Orange and Chief Magistrate (“Stadholder”) of the Netherlands, whose spouse Mary, James' daughter, was, until July 1688, the heir-presumptive to the English crown; the prince himself had a position in the list of succession, bring a nephew of James.

Over and above the prince's personal ambitions, it was his conviction and that of several other leading personalities in the Dutch Republic that it was in the vital interest of the Netherlands to influence England's policies, and, in particular, to prevent a line-up of England with the France of Louis XIV, who had hostile designs on the Republic. As long as the danger of a French assault on the Netherlands was imminent, the States-General of the Republic would not authorize the “descent” on England, but when late in September 1688 Louis decided to attack the German States on the Middle-Rhine first, the “descent” gained approval.

The peak of the crisis about James’ policies in England was reached in summer-early fall of 1688. In the meantime, William assembled a large fleet and force in the Netherlands to “descend” on England, but his sailing was hindered by winds that in September and October blew with nearly total persistence from the westerly quarter. People in England and in the Netherlands were daily watching for weeks the direction of wind. They called the easterly winds “Protestant winds” and the westerly winds “Popish winds.” In addition to making possible the invasion, the “Protestant winds” made it difficult for James to bring over Catholic Irish troops from Ireland.

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J. Neumann and S. Lindgrén

In the years 1694 to early 1697, cold winters and cool and wet springs and autumns led to extreme famine in northern Europe, particularly in Finland, Estonia, and Livonia. It is estimated that in Finland about 25–33% of the population perished (Jutikkala, 1955; Muroma, 1972), and in Estonia-Livonia about 20% (Liiv, 1938). As far as is known the population disasters associated with the famines of the 1690s in France, Italy, and Scotland; 1816–17 in western Europe; 1845–46 in Ireland; and 1867–68, again in Finland; were all notably smaller than those of Finland, Estonia, and Livonia in 1695–97. A reconstruction is attempted of the coarse features of weather conditions in northern Europe in the years preceding the famine. This is based on previous work by other investigators (especially Jutikkala), and on contemporary documents and literature examined by the present authors.

Records indicate that in the absence of an appropriate diet, the population consumed unwholesome and partly or fully indigestible ‘foods’ which led to widespread diseases and epidemics (diarrhea of sorts, including lientery, dysentery, etc.). There were even some cases of cannibalism, The greatest rise in mortality took place in spring and early summer of 1697, when weather conditions were already in the process of improving. Somewhat paradoxically, city residents suffered less than the utterly poor landless peasants and small peasants. Many of the farms were abandoned during the crisis, either through the death of either all or some members of the family concerned, or through migration (where migration included begging). The number of people who turned to begging was massive. The abandoned farms were reoccupied, shortly after the crisis, by landless peasants and by others.

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S. Lindgrén and J. Neumann

Close to the end of the severe winter 1808/09, a Russian force crossed the ice-bound Gulf of Bothnia from Finland to Sweden with the purpose of forcing Sweden to desist from taking sides with Great Britain against Napoléon. Generalmajor von Berg, one of the commanders of the force, took meteorological observations, including air-temperature measurements, during the crossing, a record of which he left behind in a journal. These air-temperature measurements appear to be the first of their kind in the history of land-based military forces.

In the discussion of the meteorological conditions of the above-mentioned harsh winter, use is made of unpublished meteorological measurements at Umeå, Sweden, and at Ylitornio (Över-Torneå), Finland. The latter were conducted by Johan Portin, a pioneer of meteorological observations near the Arctic Circle.

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S. Lindgrén and J. Neumann

Benvenuto Cellini (1500–71), the renowned goldsmith and sculptor of the late Renaissance in Italy, claimed in his autobiography that he directed artillery fire at rain clouds, thus stopping the rain. The occasion was the festive entrance into Rome (on 3 November 1538) of the Duchess Margaret of Austria, natural daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, who was also King of Spain Charles V. She came to Rome to be wedded to the grandson of the reigning Pontiff, Paul III.

Since Cellini tended to be boastful, we checked three independent contemporary sources describing Margaret's reception. None of the three mentions firing at clouds; they do not even say that there was rain on that day. It must be added, however, that all three accounts are very brief, and that in the past, records of events usually put emphasis on actions of rulers and other important personages, paying little attention to environmental (and even to social) conditions. Thus, the most that we can say in regard of Cellini's claim is that we cannot corroborate his assertion of firing at clouds.

Attention is drawn also to Cellini's excellent description of a phenomenon in atmospheric optics, viz. that of the “Heiligenschein” (of the “wet” type). Cicely M. Botley points out that this phenomenon was described by Cellini 250 years before the first scientific presentation of the observation.

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S. Lindgrén and J. Neumann

James II, King of England from 1685 to 1688, increasingly antagonized his people by his forced attempts to restore the Catholic faith to a position of eminence in England; many of his actions were contrary to acts passed by earlier Parliaments (he ruled without Parliament most of his reign). Leading dignitaries of the Church of England, of the Protestant nobility, and some of the high officers of the Army and Navy came to the conclusion that the only remedy to the country's ills was to call in William, the Prince of Orange and Chief Magistrate (“Stadholder”) of the Netherlands, whose spouse Mary, James' daughter, was, until July 1688, the heir-presumptive to the English crown; the prince himself had a position in the list of succession, being a nephew of James.

Over and above the prince's personal ambitions, it was his conviction and that of several other leading personalities in the Dutch Republic that it was in the vital interest of the Netherlands to influence England's policies, and, in particular, to prevent a line-up of England with the France of Louis XIV, who had hostile designs on the Republic. As long as the danger of a French assault on the Netherlands was imminent, the States-General of the Republic would not authorize the “descent” on England, but when late in September 1688 Louis decided to attack the German States on the Middle-Rhine first, the “descent” gained approval.

The peak of the crisis about James' policies in England was reached in summer-early fall of 1688. In the meantime, William assembled a large fleet and force in the Netherlands to “descend” on England, but his sailing was hindered by winds that in September and October blew with nearly total persistence from the westerly quarter. People in England and in the Netherlands were daily watching for weeks the direction of wind. They called the easterly winds “Protestant winds” and the westerly winds “Popish winds.” In addition to making possible the invasion, the “Protestant winds” made it difficult for James to bring over Catholic Irish troops from Ireland.

On or about 26 October (N.S. date4) the wind swung around, temporarily, to blow from the easterly quarter, and on 30 October William's armada set sail. But hardly was the armada out of the estuary of the River Maas, the assembly area, when a violent storm sprang up in the North Sea and beat the ships back to port. Altogether, October was a very stormy month, endangering the armada's safety. About 9 November the “Protestant wind” returned, and the armada sailed. The landing took place at Torbay, on the west side of southern England. The same wind that helped William's ships kept the English Navy immobilized in an area just north of Thames' estuary until after the armada reached Torbay.

In the Appendix a parallel is drawn, with regard to the process of waiting for a favorable wind, between the invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066 and the “descent” of William the Prince of Orange in 1688.

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Nick A. Rayner, Renate Auchmann, Janette Bessembinder, Stefan Brönnimann, Yuri Brugnara, Francesco Capponi, Laura Carrea, Emma M. A. Dodd, Darren Ghent, Elizabeth Good, Jacob L Høyer, John J Kennedy, Elizabeth C. Kent, Rachel E Killick, Paul van der Linden, Finn Lindgren, Kristine S. Madsen, Christopher J. Merchant, Joel R Mitchelson, Colin P Morice, Pia Nielsen-Englyst, Patricio F. Ortiz, John J Remedios, Gerard van der Schrier, Antonello A. Squintu, Ag Stephens, Peter W. Thorne, Rasmus T. Tonboe, Tim Trent, Karen L Veal, Alison M Waterfall, Kate Winfield, Jonathan Winn, and R. Iestyn Woolway

Capsule

The main goals and activities of the EUSTACE project are discussed along with some key results, including a global, multi-decadal daily air temperature record from satellite and in situ measurements.

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