Understanding weather futures based on the past: a case of Stornoway, Outer Hebrides

Eddy (Eddie) Graham, N Macdonald, S Naylor, J P Bowen, A Harvey-Fishenden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We present a weather history for Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, an island chain off the northwest coast of Scotland. It combines anew 164-year composite rainfall record representative of the settlement of Stornoway (1857–2019), alongside descriptive accounts of weather harvested from the school logbooks from the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway (1873–1974). The school logbooks record the experiences of the school, school children and wider community throughout the seasons. We describe the construction of the rainfall record for the period 1857–2019 and present analyses of long-term annual and seasonal variability, with a particular focus on wet/dry extremes. In examining instrumental and qualitative sources together, we consider not just climate, but also the impacts and responses of extreme weather on the communities of the Outer Hebrides and specifically Stornoway. The climate of the late nineteenth century in the Outer Hebrides was climatologically and meteorologically challenging, with harsh storms, severe cold, and droughts with notable societal impacts. School logbooks provide the opportunity to examine societal responses to past climate variability, enabling a better understanding of how future climates may be adapted and responded too.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages18
    JournalScottish Geographical Journal
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2023

    Keywords

    • Precipitation
    • School logbooks
    • Outer Hebrides

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