ISHE inputs to British Library Strategy on climate change records

Issue date: 19 October 2011

Dr. Tim Chatterton participated in an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded workshop on historical climate change records. The event was hosted by the Centre for Contemporary Studies at the Indian Institute for Science in Bangalore.

The interdisciplinary workshop brought together researchers from history, the social sciences and arts, and climate science to try and develop a strategy for the digitisation and dissemination of the British Library's nine miles of records from the India Office. As many contemporary climate and weather records do not extend back far beyond 1850 - measurements and observations taken by sea-farers, plantation owners, botanical surveyors, medics, and other 'characters' from the 17th and 18th centuries can provide access to otherwise unavailable information about climatic conditions around the globe.

The arts, humanities and social sciences need to play a vital role in determining the contexts in which the measurements were made, and therefore there likely accuracy, as well as finding a wider set of uses for them beyond their use in historical climate reconstructions.

Whilst in India, Dr. Chatterton was invited to spend 3 days at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai. Tim gave two departmental lectures presenting UWE's work on Air Quality, and Energy and Climate Change. He also spent time with lecturers, researchers and students from a number of research groups in the Department of Civil Engineering in order to develop a better understanding of air quality and climate change policies in India, and particularly how these interact with the rapid development pathway of the country.

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