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Extreme weather in the UK: past, present and future - event details from the TEMPEST database

Update Frequency: Not Planned
Status: Completed
Online Status: ONLINE
Publication State: Citable
Publication Date: 2017-08-21
Download Stats: last 12 months


TEMPEST (Tracking Extremes of Meteorological Phenomena Experienced in Space and Time) is the major output of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project “Spaces of Experience and Horizons of Expectation: Extreme Weather in the UK, Past, Present and Future (which ran from 2013-2017)".

TEMPEST was designed as a freely accessible and user-friendly database resource on the UK’s weather and climate history. TEMPEST is comprised of narrative accounts of extreme weather events of all types, extracted from documentary materials located in a range of archival repositories in the UK (consequentially, please see the quality statement note below concerning data issues). The information has been extracted from a wide range of documents, including letters, diaries, church records, school log-books and many others. The entries span more than 400 years - some as early as 1346 - of weather history and relate to places across the UK, though the data search was focused in five case-study regions: Central England, Southwest England, East Anglia, Wales, and Northwest Scotland.

Each event entry or narrative has been assigned to at least one weather type, is dated (at least to a year), and is geographically referenced (using digital coordinates). Many also contain material relating to the impacts of the weather event and responses to it. In addition to information on extreme weather events, TEMPEST contains details of the original documents, their authors, and the collections and repositories in which they are held. TEMPEST is searchable by all of these fields.

Users are advised to read the quality statement carefully with regards to possible issues in date and location accuracy and the way "extreme" events were documented. Additionally, users should be aware that the period covered by the dataset includes the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar. In order to manage that change 11 days were omitted from the year 1752, i.e. the day after the 2 September 1752 was 14 September, in accordance with the Calendar Act of 1751. Until September 1752 the New Year began on 25 March (Lady Day) but dual dating was commonplace for many years before, adding a further layer of complication to events that took place from 1 January to 24 March, and making 1751 a short year running from 25 March to 31 December! Scotland had changed the start of the year to 1 January in 1600. Where clear, the Gregorian calendar date has been used, providing further details in the notes section.

Citable as:  Endfield, G.H.; Veale, L.; Royer, M.-J.; Bowen, J.P.; Davies, S.; Macdonald, N.; Naylor, S.; Jones, C.; Tyler-Jones, R. (2017): Extreme weather in the UK: past, present and future - event details from the TEMPEST database. Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, date of citation. doi:10.5285/d2cfd2af036b4d788d8eddf8ddf86707.
Abbreviation: Not defined
Keywords: Extreme Weather, TEMPEST, historical events


Previous Info:
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Previously used record identifiers:
No related previous identifiers.
Access rules:
Access to these data is available to any registered CEDA user. Please Login or Register for an account to gain access.
Use of these data is covered by the following licence: When using these data you must cite them correctly using the citation given on the CEDA Data Catalogue record.
Data lineage:

Data originally collected by the "Spaces of Experience and Horizons of Expectation: Extreme weather in the UK, past, present and future" project researchers from original records held in various archives. The entries were entered into the TEMPEST (Tracking Extremes of Meteorological Phenomena Experienced in Space and Time) database. Content from the TEMPEST database has then been outputted by the project participants and formatted into BADC-CSV before delivery to the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) for long-term archiving. Separate ancillary files contain location details and author biographies.

Data Quality:
Despite reviews by the project members, automated and manual checks data errors are to be expected due to : misinterpretation and transcription errors; indeterminate event start/end dates (e.g. long thermal periods); changes in calendar usage; changing location names, spelling and boundaries; variation in recording methodology during the project and between team members – including interpretation of source material; and, change in language use over time – e.g. a reference to “hurricane of wind” in a source may not map to established classification of hurricane force winds. Users are advised to interpret narratives with care, and to consult the original documents where the phrasing or dating is crucial to their research. Users are advised to read the full data quality statement linked provided by the project team linked from this record for further quality details.
File Format:
These data are BADC-CSV formatted

Process overview

  • long_name: archive
  • names: archive
  • long_name: author other names
  • names: author other names
  • long_name: author surname
  • names: author surname
  • long_name: biography
  • names: biography
  • long_name: case study region
  • names: case study region
  • long_name: description quotes
  • names: description quotes
  • long_name: description summary
  • names: description summary
  • long_name: document classmark
  • names: document classmark
  • long_name: document date 1
  • names: document date 1
  • long_name: document date 2
  • names: document date 2
  • long_name: document day 1
  • names: document day 1
  • long_name: document day 2
  • names: document day 2
  • long_name: document month 1
  • names: document month 1
  • long_name: document month 2
  • names: document month 2
  • long_name: document type
  • names: document type
  • long_name: document year 1
  • names: document year 1
  • long_name: document year 2
  • names: document year 2
  • long_name: event date 1
  • names: event date 1
  • long_name: event date 2
  • names: event date 2
  • long_name: event day 1
  • names: event day 1
  • long_name: event day 2
  • names: event day 2
  • long_name: event month 1
  • names: event month 1
  • long_name: event month 2
  • names: event month 2
  • long_name: event year 1
  • names: event year 1
  • long_name: event year 2
  • names: event year 2
  • long_name: impact quotes
  • names: impact quotes
  • long_name: impact summary
  • names: impact summary
  • long_name: impact type list
  • names: impact type list
  • long_name: latitude
  • names: latitude
  • long_name: longitude
  • names: longitude
  • long_name: place name
  • names: place name
  • long_name: place type
  • names: place type
  • long_name: places
  • names: places
  • long_name: response type list
  • names: response type list
  • long_name: weather types
  • names: weather types

Co-ordinate Variables

Temporal Range
Start time:
End time:
Geographic Extent