Human-Environment Interactions during periods of extreme weather in Wales, 1846-1947

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Climate change projections include increasing intensity and frequency in periods of extreme weather. Investigating individual experiences of past episodes through archivebased research and oral histories can provide valuable insights to the nature of humanenvironment interactions during periods of extreme weather. Analysis of three case studies of varying meteorological, temporal and geographical characteristics, namely the 1846 flooding, the 1887–88 drought and 1946/47 winter on a local scale of southwest Wales from a qualitative perspective enables the detection of details which would not otherwise have been recognised in global and/or statistical equivalents, especially as acute meteorological extremes that straddle temporal boundaries are unlikely to be detected within compilations of instrumental data. This research highlights how individuals and communities document, are impacted, respond and mitigate against periods of extreme weather. Individual and community vulnerability to extreme weather is found to be affected by factors of amplification and resilience, namely: i) dependency on agriculture, because of its temporalities of recovery and is highly meteorologically-influenced by rain, drought and snow; ii) geographical extent of the extreme weather, as it can affect the level of aid received from remote beneficiaries; iii) technological advancements, which can help before, during and after the extreme weather by forecasting and facilitating effective responses; iv) class and economic standing, as the poor are disproportionately impacted by extreme weather; and, v) memory, through the meteorological and wider temporal context. In the light of current climate predictions, individual and/or community scale studies should form a key focus of research in addition to those which focus on policy or national responses
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SponsorsColeg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol | Welsh National College
SupervisorSarah Davies (Supervisor) & Rhys Jones (Supervisor)

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