Freak Weather in History

Freak Weather

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The collapse of civilisations, frost fairs, birds and the birth of Frankenstein

The Thames freezing over every winter. Storms caused by a volcano erupting thousands of miles away. Our weather and climate have fluctuated wildly throughout history, sometimes wiping out entire civilisations. Contributors to The Guardian Weatherwatch column reflect on these aberrant and sometimes bizarre episodes.

Kate Ravilious looks at the long history of global climate shifts and their devastating impact on some societies, David Hambling explores references to the weather in Shakespeare during the Early Modern era, a period sometimes described as a Little Ice Age, and Tim Radford discusses the ‘Year without a Summer’ 1816, when the eruption of Tambora not only saw the birth of Frankenstein but is thought to have influenced Dickens and Turner. Paul Brown examines the role of weather in the outcome of some major battles and Stephen Moss shifts focus to the world of birds and how they respond to change.

In association with The Guardian

Paul Brown is a former environment correspondent for The Guardian newspaper, a role which took him to more than 50 countries and to the Arctic and Antarctic regions. He has written 10 books − eight on environmental subjects, including four for children − and written scripts for television documentaries. He also runs journalism workshops in developing countries.

David Hambling is a freelance journalist and author based in south London, specialising mainly in science, technology and strange phenomena. He has also made some forays into fiction: his latest book, Shadows from Norwood, is a collection of H P Lovecraft-inspired horror stories set in and around SE19. 

Stephen Moss is a leading naturalist, author and the TV Producer behind Springwatch, Big Cat Diary, Birds Britannia and Birding with Bill Oddie. His latest book The Robin: a Biography, was recently published. Stephen is also Senior Lecture in Travel and Nature Writing, Bath Spa University. 

Tim Radford is a freelance journalist and a founding editor of Climate News Network. He worked for The Guardian for 32 years, becoming − among other things − letters editor, arts editor, literary editor and science editor. He won the Association of British Science Writers award for science writer of the year four times.

Kate Ravilious is an award-winning independent science journalist. She writes about the latest discoveries in the scientific world and has a particular passion for earth sciences and archaeology. Her work is published in magazines and newspapers and on websites including New Scientist, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and many more.

Image: The frozen Thames in 1677



Name: Freak Weather in History
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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Price: Full Price: £15.00
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Under 18: £10.00
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