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.