Effects of Global Warming seen in Wales?

5 Dec 2016

Are the effects of global warming seen in Wales? That is the driving question behind the new publication  Tywydd Mawr – Extreme Weather in Wales  published this week.

To look for the answer, the photographer Iestyn Hughes studied countless archives for evidence of the consequences of weather over the centuries.

As the world's climate changes each year, the book shows the impact of these effects on the Alps and glacier shrinkage in Canada but primarily the dramatic views from across Wales – snow of 1947 and 1978, the summer drought of 1976, the 2003 floods, and the storms of 2013/14 along the west coast of Wales.

Tywydd Mawr – Extreme Weather in Wales  is a comprehensive volume that contains well over a hundred photographs and drawings of extreme weather in Wales. It houses a treasure trove of facts, memories, photographs, folklore and the science of weather and climate.

"I was motivated to compile this book following the terrific storms of 2013/2014 which thrust Aberystwyth into the media spotlight. Having always been someone who took a peculiar delight in storm watching, I hung around and documented much of this exceptional period with my camera" explained Iestyn Hughes.

"I was asked to contribute to a film on the weather and climate change, and this stirred my interest in the broader historical context of the weather as it had affected Wales over the centuries." added Iestyn, "Is the recent unpredictable weather brought about by climate change, or, when set in the context that's longer than a memory of a generation, is it part of a natural long term pattern?"

"Although this is primarily a Welsh-language book, the picture captions are bilingual, helping the less-fluent reader to appreciate their context." added Iestyn.

The images presented in the book come from different sources including a collection from the National Library of Wales, which includes the first ever photograph of a snowman taken around 1854 and one of the people skating on the Teifi in 1891. In addition to photographs, there are also paintings such as those by Breugel, Aneurin Jones and Kyffin Williams.

"To us as Welsh people, and to the other residents of the British Isles, the weather is a large part of our lives. When we experience extreme weather, our social and cultural responses are direct, instinctive and highly creative." says Dr Hywel Griffiths, who wrote the introduction to the book and is a lecturer in the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University.

"In poetry or myth, paintings or photographs, something about the weather inspires. In recent years we in Wales have experienced a number of examples of extreme weather, including storms and floods." said Dr Griffiths.

"This book is an important contribution to the public conversation about weather and climate as it shows historical and cultural evidence that we as individuals and communities have proven, and coped with these extreme events in the past," he added "When we, who experienced the storms of 2013/2014, are no longer here to tell the tale, the pictures, as art and record, will endure."

Originally from Llaniestyn, Sir Fôn, Iestyn became a native of Ceredigion after 35 years working at the National Library. In 2011 he left the establishment to follow new and creative endeavours. He has made a substantial contribution to books

He has contributed extensively to books by several publishers since, either as a picture researcher, or as a photographer. Tywydd Mawr – Extreme Weather in Wales  is the fourth book to bear his name as the author, and it is a book that combines his interest in archive footage and his photographic talent.

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