- The University of Nottingham (PI)
- Aberystwyth University
- University of Glasgow
- University of Liverpool
- Georgina Endfield (PI)
- Sarah Davies, (Co I)
- Cerys Jones (Co I)
- Simon Naylor (Co I)
- Neil Macdonald (Co I)
- Lucy Veale (PDRA)
- Marie Jeanne Royer (PDRA)
- James Bowen (PDRA)
- To develop a set of local and regional climate histories in order to identify periods of unusual weather and extreme events, producing the first multi-regional climate history of the UK
- To investigate the scale of impact of- and the nature of human responses to these events and the way in which time and place specific contexts may have influenced both impact and response
- To examine how individual and community responses to climate variability, including the recording and recollection of events, have changed over the course of recent centuries and are still changing
- To explore how social memory of- and adaptations to past events may have influenced perceptions of relative resilience and vulnerability
- To create a user friendly database of extreme weather events and their implications
We are working in a series of case study areas, identified as being vulnerable to increased risk of different extreme weather of different types. They are the SW of England (increased storminess, flooding and heatwaves), Central England (drought, water scarcity and flood risk), Eastern England (increasing storminess and flooding), coastal and upland areas across Wales (flood risk, drought extreme winters) and Northwest Scotland (increased storminess).
The purpose has been to identify the nature, timing and implications of unusual and extreme weather over the past c.350 years in these areas. These regional histories of extremes will also enable us to assess how different communities in different contexts might be affected by, might comprehend and respond to future events as both climate and communities change.
For each of these case study areas, we have been undertaking systematic archival investigations in many different archival collections held in national, regional and local libraries and institutions, and county records offices. The work has involved consultation of a broad range of historical materials including unpublished diaries, correspondence, weather records, estate records, newspaper reports, school log books, among other sources dating back to the 17th century and up to the present, though we have also been consulting materials that date back much further where available.
The documentary evidence is a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data, eye witness and anecdotal information, subjective accounts of unusual weather and systematic weather observations maintained by amateur and professional meteorologists. In order for a documentary item to be useful for our project, it has to be dated, at least to a year, and have a geo-reference, at least to the regional level, providing a situated account. Materials have been read and relevant material has been transcribed verbatim and compiled into a custom built database- TEMPEST (Tracking Extremes of Meteorological Phenomena Experienced through Space and Time). This has a searchable end user interface and allows exploration of historical extremes by date, period coverage, place, event type or by individual author. We are also currently conducting oral history work in each of the case study regions to develop our work on extreme weather memory.
Outcomes and findings
There is a significant public engagement aspect to the work. One of the key outputs is a publicly accessible database: TEMPEST. We are also currently working on an exhibition for the project, which is being hosted by the Weston Gallery, University of Nottingham in conjunction with The University of Nottingham manuscripts and Special Collections and Nottinghamshire Archives. This will start in December 2016 and will run till April 2017 becoming a virtual, online exhibition after this point. We are also preparing a series of educational materials for the RGS to feed into the Geography curriculum at primary and secondary level.
- Endfield, G.H. and Veale, L. Weathering the digital turn? Going public with historical geographies of weather. To be included in a special issue of Area
- Veale, L. and Endfield, G.H. "A summer more unseasonable than any former one in my remembrance": Insights into the summer of 1816 from the UK documentary record. To be submitted to The Journal of Historical Geography
- Allan, R., Endfield G.H, Damadoran, V et al., (in press) Toward integrated historical climate research: the example of Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth. WIREs Climate Change
- Hall, A. and Endfield, G.H (in press) Snow scenes: Exploring the role of memory and place in commemorating extreme winters. Weather, Climate and Society (forthcoming)
- Veale, L., Endfield, G.H and Naylor, S.K (2014) Knowing Weather in Place: The Helm Wind of Cross Fell. Journal of Historical Geography. 45: 25-37
- Endfield, G.H. Veale, L. and Hall, A. (2015) Gordon Valentine Manley and his contribution to the study of climate change: a review of his life and work. WIREs Climate Change Vol 6 (3): 287-299
The project team is currently collectively working on a co-authored project book. Endfield and Veale have also submitted a proposal for an edited volume on extreme weather and cultural memory for the Routledge Series in Historical Geography. As a team we have also published 46 blog pieces online at different stages of the project work so far, which we hope to develop into a publication. We have also had several pieces about the project in various newsletters and history magazines.