Lived Experience of Extreme Weather Events

2023-2024. Funded by University of Bristol, Bristol Inspired Research Challenge Areas 23/24. PI Eunice Lo

With 40°C heat becoming more and more commonplace in the UK where overheating in homes and buildings is a key risk (Climate Change Committee, 2021), understanding the lived experience of people’s physical and mental health, wellbeing and behaviour during heatwaves and other extreme weather events is important to developing adaptation strategies that suit people’s actual needs.

Currently UK’s climate-health research and early warnings are focused on outdoor weather and population-scale health outcomes (e.g., mortality in South-West England) rather than people’s experiences and perceptions, which varies between individuals and the buildings they live in.

This project fills these gaps by deploying rapid questionnaires that ask participants in an established cohort, Children of the 90s (also known as ALSPAC), about their sleep, mood, motivation, productivity, perception of weather, and behavioural change during heatwaves, cold snaps, and storms. By generating never-before-seen human-based data that complement physical measurements of weather, this project will help us (1) understand how UK extreme weather affects health and wellbeing for different people, and (2) inform the development of early warnings.