Ecology and Environment

A Watch of Nightingale Postcard Poems

Posted on: 15 June 2020 | Category: Ecology and Environment

by Bethan Roberts


Imagining both utopian and dystopian climate futures is crucial – which is why cli-fi is so important

Posted on: 21 September 2019 | Category: Ecology and Environment

We are headed towards a future that is hard to contemplate. At present, global emissions are reaching record levels, the past four years have been the four hottest on record, coral reefs are dying, sea levels are rising and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the moment to do something about it. But what?


Extreme weather in 21st Century Britain

Posted on: 2 June 2019 | Category: Ecology and Environment

In recent years, extreme levels of rainfall have led to flooding across various parts of the United Kingdom. The November to January period of 2015/16 saw the wettest three-months in UK rainfall series since records began in 1910. Storms Desmond, Abigail, Frank and Gertrude hit Britain over these months and approximately 16,000 properties in England were flooded. Scientists are wary to directly correlate such extreme weather with climate change, but recent modelling studies do point towards the role of human-induced global warming in causing such weather.


Books and Birds Field Trip

Posted on: 25 April 2019 | Category: Ecology and Environment

Second year student Alice Burgess reports on the English department 'Books and Birds' field trip: A day on the Wirral explore birds on the page and in the sky.


The future for cli-fi: interview with Dan Bloom.

Posted on: 16 November 2018 | Category: Ecology and Environment

Liverpool PhD Student Bernadette McBride, interviews the journalist Dan Bloom, who coined the phrase 'Cli-Fi, for the Literature and Science Hub, University of Liverpool.


Collaborative Poem from the Made from Light Tate workshops

Posted on: 2 August 2018 | Category: Ecology and Environment

Writer Philippa Holloway talks us through a collaborative poem that emerged through her writing workshops with members of the public at Tate Liverpool.


Liverpool's Bethan Roberts discusses her research on BBC Radio 4

Posted on: 12 October 2017 | Category: Ecology and Environment

Listen to Bethan and others discuss the nightingale on the BBC's Natural Histories programme using the link below


Citizenship in the Anthropocene

Posted on: 26 February 2017 | Category: Ecology and Environment

The hottest year on record was 2016. It was also the year scientists advised that Earth’s citizens were now living in the Anthropocene, the name proposed for an epoch in which humans influence geology and environment on a global scale.


Wave Motion

Posted on: 26 February 2017 | Category: Ecology and Environment

\"Wave Motion\" introduced by Sarah Hymas


Climate change is a global phenomenon but it can often feel abstract and detached from our everyday lives. Engagement with the public about climate change can be more effective if human experiences of extreme weather are used, in the form of memories and personal stories.

Tom Webb (Postdoctoral Research Associate) from the ‘Weather Extremes’ project, reflects on how using the histories of local extreme weather events can help (re)engage the public with the risks of climate change.


Extreme weather in 21st Century Britain

In recent years, extreme levels of rainfall have led to flooding across various parts of the United Kingdom. The November to January period of 2015/16 saw the wettest three-months in UK rainfall series since records began in 1910. Storms Desmond, Abigail, Frank and Gertrude hit Britain over these months and approximately 16,000 properties in England were flooded. Scientists are wary to directly correlate such extreme weather with climate change, but recent modelling studies do point towards the role of human-induced global warming in causing such weather. 

For most of us, the impact of these weather events only really becomes comprehensible when the scientific statistics and data are accompanied by images, footage and individual stories of the devastation caused by flooding. These cultural sources bring to the fore the experience of the individual and the emotional impact of such weather. Importantly, they inform larger questions about the resilience and vulnerability of particular individuals and communities to the future risks of climate change and the impacts of extreme weather events. 

TEMPEST database

Researching extreme weather in the past

Just as weather patterns are variable and have shifted over time, so to have conceptions of the weather and ways of responding to it. Historical actors have drawn on various religious, superstitious, meteorological and experiential insights to comprehend the weather. They have also prepared for, and responded to, extreme weather events in a multitude of ways. Through investigating these, there are potential lessons to be learnt about climate challenges and change through comparing experiences of extreme weather in the past with those of today. 

To do this, we can explore the TEMPEST (Tracking Extremes of Meteorological Phenomena Experienced in Space and Time) database, which was created out of the recently funded AHRC project, ‘Spaces of experience, horizons of expectation: the implication of extreme weather events past, present and future’ (2013-16). This publically accessible database contains roughly 18,000 historical weather events records relating to Britain primarily over the past three centuries. It includes weather records from source bases including diaries, letters, newspapers and parish records. Significantly, it establishes an important legacy for constituting Britain’s weather memory and heritage.  

Actors playing accordian
'The Storm Officer'

Engaging with the public

In a follow-on project - ‘Weathering the storm: TEMPEST and engagement with the national weather memory’ - our aim for this year is to use the TEMPEST database to actively engage with the public about climate and weather histories, to prepare people for future weather events. 

We will be running workshops to introduce the public to the TEMPEST database and there will be performances of ‘The Storm Officer’, a play inspired by the contents of the TEMPEST database. These activities are in partnership with the Archives and Records Association.
 

Discover more

Learn more about the 'Weather Extremes' project

History research at the University of Liverpool