Dr George Adamson
Lecturer in Geography
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2802
Department of Geography
King's College London
Office: Bush House North East Wing, Room 6.15
George is an interdisciplinary geographer with specialisms that span the physical, social and cultural dimensions of geography, particularly climate. He joined King's in September 2013 having undertaken doctoral and postdoctoral research at the University of Brighton and University of Sussex. Prior to this George worked as an environmental consultant at Waterman Environmental.
George's work argues for a historically-informed understanding of climate. This calls for a greater attention to pre-industrial or 'natural climate variability' and also an appreciation of the deeper historical interrelationship of climate and society, in the way that climate has been constructed and understood and the ways that human societies have responded to a beneficent and destructive climate.
George is affiliated with the ACRE (Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth) initiative and the Centre for Integrated Research on Risk and Resilience. He is also an associate of the Centre for World Environmental History.
George is also the tutor for study abroad (incoming and outgoing) Geography students.
- Historical environmental change in the Indian Ocean World
- El Niño and society
- Institutional responses to natural disasters in history
- Cultural narratives of climate
George’s research is situated at the interface between palaeoclimatology, environmental history and climate change adaptation and policy. His research explores the use of historical records to inform contemporary climate and natural hazards responses, both scientifically through an extension of the historical meteorological record and through analyses of adaptive management to droughts and floods in the past. George’s work also examines narratives of climate through history, with a view to increasing understanding of the socio-political discourse of climate today; in particular, analysing nineteenth-century European colonial discourses on tropical climates.
Recently, George's work has focussed on the history of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. A forthcoming book with Professor Richard Grove argues that El Niño has had a profound impact on human history, through the generation of concurrent climate extremes through the world. Conversely, humans have also had a profound impact on El Niño, in codifying an ocean-atmosphere process to create an anthropomorphised phenomenon, with gendered characteristics and a power to impact global societies that mirrors climate change and economic globalisation.
5SSG2047 Geography Development Field Trip to Kerala – expertise on environment and livelihoods
5SSG2051 Climate Variability, Change and Society [module coordinator] – covers the fundamentals of climate science including anthropogenic forcings and decadal variability, as well as the social implications of climate change. Personal contributions: global teleconnections; regional-scale climatology; climate modelling.
6SSG3061 Current Research in Geography – seminars on ongoing research themes: methods of reconstruction of tropical climates using documentary sources; the social construct of El Niño.
6SSG3073 Histories and Geographies of Climate Change – social understandings of ‘climate change’ during the last 300 years, the contribution of past case studies to climate adaptation
7SSG5176/7SSG5177 Global Environmental Change 1/2 – Extended postgraduate seminar course in support of core modules for MSc Global Environmental Change. Topics covered include methods of palaeo- and historical environmental reconstruction, tropical climatology, greenhouse atmospheric chemistry, climate modelling, environmental policymaking, geoengineering.
7SSG5210 Climate: Science and History [module coordinator] – places contemporary climate change in an historical context. Includes examination of historical narratives of climate; the development of climate science; methods of historical climate reconstruction; lessons from past climate stress.
Study Abroad (Incoming and outgoing students)
Kate Porter (2013 - )
Ecological worldviews and climate control technologies: The cases of “Haida Gwaii” and the “Geo-scholars"
Hazel Webber (2009 - )
Vulnerability and Adaptation Amongst a Sea-Gypsy Community
Impact, innovation and outreach
I would welcome expressions of interest from potential PhD students in any of the following subject areas:
- Climate reconstruction
- Social responses to and representations of historical climate variability
- History and evolution of climate knowledge
- History of disaster management policy
George gives regular presentations outside of academia as part of an ongoing commitment to public outreach activity, including the Royal Meteorological Society, 'Pint of Science' project, and schools' talks. He regularly lectures as part of the Department of Geography Taster Day activities, and was part of the Department's Sutton Trust Summer School in 2014 and 2015.