Documentary Records of Climate Variability in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa During the Late 18th to Early 20th Centuries
The objective of the research is to collect, extract, and systematize all available information on the climate of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa during the late 18th to early 20th centuries from documentary sources. The collected data will be formulated in qualitative to semi-quantitative seasonal to annual time series on rainfall and temperature over the studied period. These time series will be used as stand-alone climate data to reconstruct the climate variability in the region and will serve as data for calibrating and validating longer time series on rainfall and temperature from natural archives, including speleothems, tree rings, and lake core records.
Many historical and geographical records contain observations and descriptions of features related to climate, and they frequently also include actual climate and weather observations. All possible sources, including books, diaries, letters, reports, newsletters, chronicles, and manuscripts, that deal with the 18th- to 20th-century history, geography, geology, etc. of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa will be searched using all available means and facilities in the host institution/library, then sorted and prioritized based on the subjects treated. Identified sources will be read in chronological order, with all information related to weather phenomena, climate, and associated consequences recorded verbatim. Dates, locations, and contextual information will be recorded, sorted, and validated. These qualitative and quantitative climate indicators will be recorded and compiled as a seasonal and annual rainfall and temperature database. Qualitative observations to be recorded include accounts of weather events such as frost, hail, rain, fog, wind, and storms, together with information about river levels, crop/vegetation conditions, and other more general commentaries, including summaries of mean seasonal conditions and climatic impacts on crops, humans, and livestock. The seasonal/annual records of rainfall will finally be classified in categories such as "wet", "normal", "dry", and other extreme condition indicators like "drought", "severe drought", etc.
The results will be systematized and narrated in a monograph on "Historical climate of Ethiopia during the 18th to 20th centuries".
Asrat, A., Baker, A., Umer, M., Moss. J., Leng, M., Van Calstren, P., and Smith, C. (2007). "A high-resolution multi-proxy stalagmite record from Mechara, Southeastern Ethiopia: Paleohydrological implications for speleothem paleoclimate reconstruction." Journal of Quaternary Science 22: 53-63.
Asrat, A., Baker, A., Leng, M., Gunn, J., and Umer, M. (2008). "Environmental monitoring in the Mechara caves, Southeastern Ethiopia: implications for speleothem palaeoclimate studies." International Journal of Speleology 37: 207-220.
Nash, D. J., De Cort, G., Chase, B. M., Verschuren, D., Nicholson, S. E., Shanahan, T. M., Asrat, A., Lézine, A. M., and Grab, S. W. (2016). "African hydroclimatic variability during the last 2000 years." Quaternary Science Reviews 154: 1-22.
Publications from the Fellows' Library
Asrat Kassaye, Asfawossen (
Decadal-scale rainfall variability in Ethiopia recorded in an annually laminated, Holocene-age, stalagmite
Asrat Kassaye, Asfawossen (
A high-resolution multi-proxy stalagmite record from Mechara, Southeastern Ethiopia : palaeohydrological implications for speleothem palaeoclimate reconstruction