Perceiving Climate Change #3: Heat

Perceiving Climate Change #3: Heat

13th Jun 2024 7pm - 9:30pm
British Summer Time

This is a live-stream event

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2024-06-13 19:00:00 2024-06-13 21:30:00 Europe/London Perceiving Climate Change #3: Heat Live virtual stream event


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Free + Free handling

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Event Details

How can humans notice the subtle but fundamental processes of climate change? This online event will be the third in a series of free events across 2024 in which we will examine from a range of perspectives how people are striving to make climate change intelligible to human senses and cognitive processes. Our series of events examines how scientists, artists and others find ways to detect and narrate changes in the realms of ice, water and heat. For our third session we will concentrate upon the ways in which we detect and experience climate change’s heat effects. Hosted by the Sheffield Hallam University Space & Place Group in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Society (Yorkshire & North East Regional Committee), this series of events will foster an exploratory, interdisciplinary conversation and we very much welcome participation from all disciplines.

 The four presentations at this event will be: 

Are heatwaves just a long hot summer? Raising the understanding of extreme heat risk

Chloe Brimicombe (Climate Scientist and Extreme Heat Researcher, HIGH Horizons Postdoc, Social Complexity and System Transformation Research Group, Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change, University of Graz, Austria)

Extreme heatwaves are the deadliest weather hazard associated with Climate Change. In addition, heatwaves are growing in frequency, duration, intensity and area with global heating. Despite this extreme heat has been subjected to underreporting across the media, policy and international climate reports. In many parts of Central Europe heatwaves are often portrayed and understood as a 'long hot summer' or 'fun in the sun', in comparison a more fatalistic take understanding is seen in part of the Global South where heatwaves are not fully understood as it's 'always hot here'. In this talk the gaps on communicating and reporting heatwaves will be outlined. Before, addressing the recent advances in research pushing forward to better communication and reporting of heatwaves. And outlining how we can go further to understand cultural understanding of heatwaves and how we can use this to target communication.

From ‘Devouring Monster’ to ‘Instant Wrap Around Warmth’: Understanding our home heating past to inform a low carbon future.

Kathy Davies, Historian and Postdoctoral Researcher, JustHeat, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University

Since the end of the Second World War home heating in Britain has undergone seismic transition, shifting from solid fuel fires (predominantly coal) that required extensive human intervention and management to primarily gas central heating technologies with digitised controls. In 1945, the open hearth and the Victorian coal-fired range were the dominant technologies despite being highly inefficient in terms of fuel consumption and labour. 95% of households used coal, coke, or anthracite in the postwar period, and only 5% of households used gas. By the 1990s, 94% of homes had gas central heating systems. These systems maintain a monopoly on the provision of warmth in British homes today. Home heating is, however, a major source of carbon emissions, and changing the way we keep warm at home is imperative to address the climate crisis. This presentation explores Britain’s home heating past through oral history and archival research to reflect on how histories of domestic heat, from the personal to the national, can inform the necessary transition to a low carbon heating future.

Getting Warm and Being Cool: exploring experiences of warmth through art practice

Becky Shaw (Professor in Fine Art Practice, Birmingham City University)

Processes of government-led decarbonisation focus on technological and economic ‘incentives’ for home heating energy change, often without taking into account how our relationship to our home heating may be emotional, cultural, affective, historical, locational and political. Looking back to move forwards: a social and cultural history of home heating’ (PI Aimee Ambrose) explores the experiences of home heating in communities in Romania, Sweden, Finland and the UK. We are bringing together oral history collection, artistic research and social science, to explore how we might draw out and hold the affective dimensions of home-heating, as well as testing how they can form a tripartite relationship with communities and energy stakeholders, to generate public dialogue. In this presentation Becky will explore the ways that artists are contributing to how we understand the emotional, social and agentic significance of home heating, as well as speculating on some of the difficulties and assumptions about what artists might ‘do’ in research projects.

Perceiving the Effect of Climate Change and Urban Heat Islands on Built Environments

Karam Al-Obaidi & Mohataz Hossain (Department of the Natural & Built Environment, SHU)

With the rise in urban developments, population densities and the diminishing presence of natural land areas, the adverse impact of Urban Heat Island (UHI) is expected to increase in the age of climate change. Urban and built environments are poised to experience elevated temperatures and intensified heat waves in the coming years as the climate continues to warm. This presentation highlights the impact of climate change on human comfort by focusing on outdoor and indoor environments using research case studies. Firstly, it showcases some relevant scenarios that examine urban microclimate impacts on human comfort, including institutional campuses and city centres in different climate zones. Secondly, it presents the influence of urban microclimate on indoor thermal conditions and human comfort in non-domestic buildings in several climate zones. Thirdly, it demonstrates the importance of understanding the relationship between outdoor and indoor environments. Lastly, it addresses a range of technical solutions to mitigate the adverse impact and methods to increase sustainability in built environments. 

Image credit: Luke Bennett