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As this year's boreal summer monsoon draws to a close interest automatically centers around forecasts for next summer's monsoon and the likelihood of possibly another El Niño event. This brings about the question of historical El Niños and when I googled for the same I came up with this interesting site - Historical El Niño Events. I am familiar with the European medieval warming period Medieval Warming Period but my current question deals with the period from 1790 AD to 1799 AD as mentioned in the first link. It appears apart from the year 1798 all other years were El Niño years and that would appear to be a extraordinary period. My question is

Are there any references from paleoclimatology that talk of the atmosphere during that period ? Are those confirmed El Niño events ?

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The best article about the 1789-1793 El Niño is probably Grove (1998) Nature study. There is also a lot more information in Grove's 2007 paper. In the second paper, he explores the global consequences of the El Niño event (some evidence is mostly circumstantial), which he describes as being quite severe: famine ("By November 1792 over 600,000 deaths were being attributed directly to the prolonged droughts"), revolution (French Revolution), economic hardship... He provides rainfall and temperature records and many historical reports as evidence of the conditions.

While further archival research is needed to more fully characterise the 1789–93 event, the evidence of a strong global impact already indicates that it was one of the most severe El Niños recorded.

In El Nino History and Crisis Grove talks of the idea of a Mega Niño in relation to the continuous series of El Niño events that occurred during the period 1788-93.

In terms of severity,the Indian droughts of 1788-1793 surpassed anything that had occurred since the events of 1685-88, and stand out as having both an unusually long duration and extraordinarily wide effects, within and beyond India. Indian droughts that co-occurred with El Ninos in the interim, in 1701-2, 1707-9, 1737 and 1783, while serious, did not approach the ferocity of the years 1685-1687 in southeast India and it was not until 1788— 1793 that a comparable series of extreme events took place.

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    $\begingroup$ fascinating reading that second reference. While I do not think famines are possible today thanks to a connected world and better storage facilities but the fate of rain fed lands will be very challenging. Also lands that are getting from borewells for irrigation will be sucking more water from below. $\endgroup$ – gansub Sep 25 '15 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ the second reference also shows that the global warming idea goes back several centuries ! $\endgroup$ – gansub Sep 25 '15 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mind editing my answer and add the other reference? Thanks $\endgroup$ – arkaia Sep 26 '15 at 15:00
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    $\begingroup$ I added the reference and quoted from that link and introduced the idea of a Mega El Niño. $\endgroup$ – gansub Oct 2 '15 at 8:25

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