There is growing concern over the impacts of inter-annual climate variability and anomalous and ‘extreme’ weather events such as droughts, floods, storm events and unusually high or low temperatures. While social and economic systems have generally evolved to accommodate some deviations from 'normal' weather conditions, this is rarely true of extremes. For this reason, such events can have the greatest and most immediate social and economic impact of all climate changes.

The construction of regionally specific climatic histories and historical extreme weather events, and investigations of the memories of and social responses to these events are crucial for understanding the nature of the events that might take place in the future. Based on a series of case study areas, these histories 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.


The main output from the project will be a public database of extreme weather events in the UK, dating back to c. 1700. The database will include the facility for readers to add their memories and experiences of extreme weather events. 

Other outputs will include educational resources, a touring public exhibition and a variety of published materials and conference presentations.

Map of the UK

Case Studies

‌A set of case study regions have been identified for our investigation of extreme weather in the UK. Our research will be concentrated on materials and events relating to these case study regions that together will form the first multi-regional climate history of the UK.

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    There are rich and diverse archival collections available for each area yet these have yet to be investigated for climate history purposes. Exploring the implications of unusual weather events for communities and individuals in each of these regions and through time will provide insight into the way in which geographical context and changing socio-economic and political circumstance influences relative impacts and response.

    North, West and Southwest Wales

    Specifically isolated rural communities, small coastal communities, and upland farming areas at risk from flooding, drought and extreme winters.

    The East Anglia coast and Northwest Scotland

    Regions that have been identified as being at risk of flooding and storm events.

    Central England region

    Considered to be vulnerable to flooding, water scarcity and drought.

    Southwest England

    Projected to suffer most acutely from storm events, and flooding as well as heat waves

  • Floods in the meadows

    TEMPEST Database

    Tracking Extremes of Meteorological Phenomena Experienced in Space and Time (TEMPEST)

    TEMPEST is our project database of extreme weather events in the UK. Compiled from all of the data collected through archival, library and oral history research, TEMPEST will eventually include details of thousands of extreme weather events in the UK, covering the period c.1700 to the present day.

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    By the end of the project TEMPEST will be a freely accesible and user friendly resource on the UK's climate history. It will include records of all types of 'extreme' weather and will be searchable by weather type and location, as well as by keyword. Some records will also include digitized images of the original sources and links to supporting audio or video files.

    We will be adding more information on TEMPEST here as the project develops. In the meantime you might like to consult some of the existing databases listed below.

    Meteorological databases

    Chronology of British Hydrological Events
    LenNatur (Nature Lore)
    Storms and floods in the eighteenth century
    Gallery of natural phenomena

  • Publications

    As the project develops, members of the project team will be writing about the project, its themes, methods, results, and the extreme weather events that we explore. We will also be putting together some educational resources and an exhibition.

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    VEALE, L., BOWEN, J.P., AND ENDFIELD, G. (spring 2017). "Instead of fetching flowers the youths brought in flakes of snow": Exploring extreme weather history through English parish registers, Archives and Records. doi 10.1080/23257962.2016.1260531

    ENDFIELD, G.H. (2016). Historical narratives of weather extremes in the UK, Geography 101(2).

    VEALE, L. and ENDFIELD, G.H. (2016). Situating 1816, the 'year without summer' in the UK, Geographical Journal. doi 10.1111/geoj.12191

    ENDFIELD, G., HOWARD, A.J., and VEALE, L (2016). Strategic Objective 10D Elucidate the flood history of the Derwent Valley as a guide to the potential impact of future climate change upon the historic environment resource, in KNIGHT, D. (Ed) The Derwent Valley: The Valley that Changed the World. Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Research Framework (Derwent Valley Mills Partnership: Matlock), 85.