20/02/2018
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The Tempest Database - exploring five centuries of extreme weather in Scotland

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A new website which allows users to browse five centuries of weather data for Scotland and the rest of the UK has been released as a free-to-use resource.

TEMPEST was created as part of an AHRC funded project 'Spaces of Experience and Horizons of Expectation': Extreme weather in the UK, past, present and future (2013-2016). The digital database represents research material gathered by a project team made up of researchers from the University of Glasgow, University of Nottingham, Aberystwyth University and University of Liverpool.

Exploring the effects of the weather on our ancestors

The information contained within TEMPEST has been extracted from a wide range of archival documents, including letters, diaries, church records, school log-books, newspaper cuttings and photographs. Entries span 500 years of weather history and relate to places across the UK (and Ireland), though the search was focused in five case-study regions: Northwest Scotland, Central England, Southwest England, East Anglia and Wales.

In addition to information on extreme weather events, users can find details of the original documents, their authors and the collections and repositories in which they are held. 

How to use Tempest

Tempest is made up of five different sections:

  1. The Database - general background information
  2. Search - allows you to specify your search criteria
  3. Results - when you perform a search matching records will be shown in a chrononlogical list in the Results tab
  4. Mapped Results - when you perform a search the locations of any extreme weather events which meet your criteria will be shown on the map displayed in the Mapped Results tab
  5. Help tab - for support 

TEMPEST primarily contains historical narrative accounts of weather drawn from a wide range of archival materials held in repositories in a set of UK case study regions. Information also includes contextual details about the original documents, their authors, and the repository where the original document is held. For each weather event, information includes:

  • the date of the event
  • the location(s) where the event occurred
  • the meteorological character of the event (e.g storm, flood)
  • the impacts of the event where known, as well as any responses it generated

Explore TEMPEST.

(image copyright Brian Jobson)

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