Dealing with the deluge of historical weather data: the example of the TEMPEST database

Veale, Lucy ORCID: 0000-0002-0415-7078, Endfield, Georgina ORCID: 0000-0001-6052-2204, Davies, Sarah, Macdonald, Neil ORCID: 0000-0003-0350-7096, Naylor, Simon, Royer, Marie-Jeanne, Bowen, James, Tyler-Jones, Richard and Jones, Cerys
(2017) Dealing with the deluge of historical weather data: the example of the TEMPEST database. GEO-GEOGRAPHY AND ENVIRONMENT, 4 (2). e00039-e00039.

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People have long been interested in the history of weather, particularly extremes, and chronologies of past events drawing on information from written records have been compiled and published throughout history. In recent years, concern over current and future weather and climate has triggered a new level of interest in past weather events and their impacts. This interest, alongside the development of digital humanities research methods, has resulted in a rapid growth in the number of online databases relating to historic weather and climate around the world. This paper documents the design, creation and content of one such database, TEMPEST, an online repository for extreme weather history in the UK. TEMPEST has been created as the major output of the AHRC funded project ‘Spaces of Experience and Horizons of Expectation: The Implications of Extreme Weather in the UK, Past, Present and Future’ (2013-2017). Unlike the majority of existing databases that rely on published materials, TEMPEST's records are drawn from primary research into original documentary sources held in archives around the UK. The c. 18,000 records that TEMPEST currently contains offer personalised and geo-referenced insights into the relationship between society and extreme weather in the UK spanning a period of over 400 years. In this paper we outline potential applications for TEMPEST and suggest directions for future research and resources in historical weather. We also consider broader issues for the digital humanities relating to the storage, archiving, ownership, and usage of data and the need to ensure connectivity between complementary datasets.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: extreme weather, weather history, database, digital humanities, archive, UK
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2017 10:10
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 06:56
DOI: 10.1002/geo2.39
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