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Last autumn-winter season was Europe's warmest for more than 700 years, researchers say.
The last time Europeans saw similar temperatures to the autumn and winter of 2006-07, they were eating strawberries at Christmas in 1289, according to Jürg Luterbacher at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues.
European climate measurements and temperature records stretch back several hundred years – UK records are the longest available, going back to 1659. Estimating historical temperatures beyond then involves scrutinising contemporary documents and diaries.
"People in churches, or doctors, wrote diaries, and usually they also included information about weather and climate. Climate historians can use and interpret this information and translate it into a temperature value," explains Luterbacher, who worked with climate historians to compare past and recent temperatures
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