Dr Sarah Davies

BA Geography (1995), University of Sheffield MRes (1996), PhD (2000), University of Edinburgh

Dr Sarah Davies


Contact Details


I joined DGES in September 2002 as a lecturer in Physical Geography and Environmental Science. I was appointed Senior Lecturer in October 2008 .My research focuses on reconstructing climatic and environmental change using evidence from lake sediments. I am particularly interested in the interactions between people, climate and environment over a range of timescales. Most of my work to date has focused in tropical regions such as Mexico and Ethiopia, where I am involved in ongoing projects. Closer to home, I also work on sedimentary and historical records of climatic variability and extreme weather and their impacts in Wales and the UK.



I am a Co-Investigator on an AHRC-funded research project investigating historical weather extremes in the UK (Spaces of experience and horizons of expectation: the implications of weather extremes, past, present and future). With Dr Cerys Jones and Dr Marie-Jeanne Royer, I am focusing on gathering archival research and oral histories of the impacts and responses to weather extremes in Wales over the past three centuries. Our project involves collaboration with Natural Resources Wales and is supported by the Climate Change Consortium of Wales. We teamed up with cooleague at Llen Natur to celebrate the launch of the online transcribed diaries of William Bulkeley, Llanfechell, Anglesey. These diaries, written between 1734 and 1760 represent a key source for our project.

I am participating in the Hominin Sites and Paleoenvironments Drilling Project (2014-2017), which focuses on continental records of climate variability in eastern Africa spanning key periods of human evolution and dispersal. This is an international collaboration between the USA, Germany, Ethiopia and UK scientists, funded by ICDP, NSF, NERC and CRC. As co-investigator on a NERC project led by Prof Henry Lamb, my role is to analyse the diatom record from a 500,000 year record from Chew Bahir in Southern Ethiopia, in collaboration with Prof Phil Barker (Lancaster University).

Current PhD Students

  • Gwydion Jones, Swansea University (external supervisor, with Prof. Siwan Davies and Dr. Neil Loader)
  • Melanie Kingsbury, University of Stirling (external supervisor, with Dr. Bob McCulloch)

    Research Groups

    • Quaternary Environmental Change Group
    • Environment and Society



    Stewart, H., Bradwell, T., Bullard, J.E., Davies, S., McCulloch, R. 2017. 8000 years of North Atlantic storminess reconstructed from a Scottish peat record: implications for Holocene atmospheric circulation patterns in Western Europe. Journal of Quaternary Science 10.1002/jqs.2983

    Veale, L., Endfield, G.H., Davies, S., Macdonald, N., Naylor, S., Royer, M., Bowen, J., Tyler-Jones, R., Jones, C. 2017. Dealing with the deluge of historical weather data: the example of the TEMPEST database. Geo: Geography and Environment 4 (2) e00039 10.1002/geo2.39

    Roberts, S.J., Monien, P., Foster, L.C., Loftfield, J., Schnetger, B., Pearson, E., Juggins, S., Hocking, E., Fretwell, P., Ochyra, R., Haworth, A., Allen, C., Moreton, S., Davies, S., Brumsack, H., Bentley, M.J., Hodgson, D.A. 2017. Past penguin colony responses to explosive volcanism on the Antarctic Peninsula. Nature Communications 8 14914 10.1038/ncomms14914 Cadair


    Zawalna-Geer, A., Lindsay, J.M., Davies, S.M., Augustinus, P., Davies, S. 2016. Extracting a primary Holocene crytoptephra record from Pupuke maar sediments, Auckland, New Zealand. Journal of Quaternary Science 31 (5) pp. 442 - 457. 10.1002/jqs.2866 Cadair

    Lamb, H., Cohen, A., Schäbitz, F., Asrat, A., Barker, P., Bates, R., Davies, S., Deino, A., Förster, V., Grove, M., Huws, D., Junginger, A., Konrad-Schmolke, M., Lane, C., Mark, D., Pearce, N., Pearson, E., Ramsey, C., Raub, T., Rethemeyer, J., Roberts, H.M., Rogass, C., Trauth, M., Viehberg, F., Wagner, B., Woldegabriel, G. 2016. The Hominin sites and Palaeolakes Drilling Project: Testing hypotheses of climate-driven human evolution and dispersal at Chew Bahir, Ethiopia. The African Quaternary (AFQUA): Environments, Ecology and Humans Inaugural Conference. 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.08.202 Cadair


    Grove, M., Lamb, H., Roberts, H.M., Davies, S., Marshall, M.H., Bates, R., Huws, D. 2015. Climatic variability, plasticity, and dispersal: A case study from Lake Tana, Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution 87 pp. 32-47. 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.07.007 Cadair

    Jones, M.D., Metcalfe, S.E., Davies, S.J., Noren, A. 2015. Late Holocene climate reorganisation and the North American Monsoon. Quaternary Science Reviews 124 pp. 290-295. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.07.004 Cadair

    Jones, C., Davies, S., Royer, M. 2015. Curation and contextualisation of Welsh weather extremes by 18th and 19th century diarists. 2015 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Annual Meeting. Cadair

    Davies, S., Lamb, H., Roberts, S.J. 2015. Micro-XRF core scanning in palaeolimnology: recent developments. Micro-XRF Studies of Sediment Cores : Applications of a non-destructive tool for the environmental sciences. Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research, vol. 17 Springer Nature pp. 189-226. Cadair

    Metcalfe, S.E., Barron, J.A., Davies, S.J. 2015. The Holocene history of the North American Monsoon: 'known knowns' and 'known unknowns' in understanding its spatial and temporal complexity. Quaternary Science Reviews 120 pp. 1-27. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.04.004 Other Cadair

    Orme, L.C., Davies, S.J., Duller, G.A.T. 2015. Reconstructed centennial variability of Late Holocene storminess from Cors Fochno, Wales, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science 30 (5) pp. 478-488. 10.1002/jqs.2792 Other Cadair


    Jones, C., Davies, S. 2014. Weather extremes in Wales – a historical perspective. Natur Cymru - Nature of Wales (50) Other Cadair

    Jones, C., Davies, S. 2014. ‘I do not remember the weather so severe…’ a historical perspective on weather extremes in Wales. C3W Public Lecture. Other Cadair


    Jones, C.A., Davies, S.J., Macdonald, N. 2012. Examining the social consequences of extreme weather: the impact of the 1947 winter in upland Wales, UK. Climatic Change 113 (1) pp. 35-53. 10.1007/s10584-012-0413-9 Other Cadair


    Marshall, M.H., Lamb, H.F., Huws, D., Davies, S.J., Bates, R., Bloemendal, J., Boyle, J., Leng, M.J., Umer, M., Bryant, C. 2011. Late Pleistocene and Holocene drought events at Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. Global and Planetary Change 78 (3-4) pp. 147-161. 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2011.06.004 Cadair


    Metcalfe, S.E., Jones, M.D., Davies, S.J., Noren, A., Mackenzie, A.B. 2010. Climate variability over the last two millennia in the North American monsoon region, recorded in laminated lake sediments from Laguna de Juanacatlan, Mexico. Holocene 20 (8) pp. 1195-1206. 10.1177/0959683610371994 Cadair

    Vazquez, G., Ortega, B., Davies, S., Aston, B. 2010. Registro sedimentario de los ultimos 17,000 años del Lago de Zirahuén, Michoacán, Mexico. [Sedimentary record of the past ca. 17,000 years Zirahuén Lake, Michoacan, Mexico.] Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana 62 (3) Other Cadair

    Macdonald, N., Jones, C.A., Davies, S.J., Charnell-White, C.A. 2010. Historical Weather Accounts from Wales: An Assessment of their Potential for Reconstructing Climate. Weather 65 (3) pp. 72-81. 10.1002/wea.418 Other Cadair

    Jones, C.A., Davies, S.J., Charnell-White, C.A., Macdonald, N., Elias, T., Brown, D. 2010. Hinsawdd Hanesyddol: Potensial Ffynonellau Dogfennol Cymru. [Historical climate: the Potential of Wales' documentary sources.] Gwerddon 6 pp. 34-54. Other Cadair


    Endfield, G.H., Davies, S., Fernandez-Tejedo, I., Metcalfe, S.E. 2009. Documenting disaster: Archival investigations of climate, crisis and catastrophe in colonial Mexico. In C. Mauch., C. Pfister. (eds) Natural Disasters and cultural responses : Case studies toward a global environmental history. Rowman & Littlefield pp. 305-326. Cadair

    Marshall, M.H., Lamb, H.F., Davies, S.J., Leng, M.J., Kubsa, Z., Umer, M., Bryant, C. 2009. Climatic change in northern Ethiopia during the past 17,000 years: a diatom and stable isotope record from Lake Ashenge. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 279 (1-2) pp. 114-127. 10.1016/j.palaeo.2009.05.003 Cadair


    Metcalfe, S., Davies, S.J. 2007. Deciphering recent climate change in central Mexican lake records. Climatic Change 83 (1-2) pp. 169-186. 10.1007/s10584-006-9152-0 Cadair

    Metcalfe, S.E., Davies, S.J., Braisby, J., Leng, M.J., Newton, A.J., Terrett, N.L., O'Hara, S.L. 2007. Long and short-term change in the Patzcuaro Basin, central Mexico. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 247 (3-4) pp. 272-295. 10.1016/j.palaeo.2006.10.018 Cadair

    Lamb, H.F., Bates, C.R., Coombes, P.M.V., Marshall, M.H., Umer, M., Davies, S.J., Dejen, E. 2007. Late Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile. Quaternary Science Reviews 26 (3-4) pp. 287-299. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.11.020 Cadair


    Leng, M.J., Metcalfe, S.E., Davies, S. 2005. Investigating late holocene climate variability in central mexico using carbon isotope ratios in organic materials and oxygen isotope ratios from diatom silica within lacustrine sediments. Journal of Paleolimnology 34 (4) pp. 413-431. 10.1007/s10933-005-6748-8 Other Cadair

    Davies, S.J., Metcalfe, S.E., Chacon, A., Bernal-Brooks, F., Farmer, J.G., MacKenzie, A.B., Newton, A.J. 2005. Lake sediments record sensitivity of two hydrologically closed upland lakes in Mexico to human impact. Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment 34 (6) pp. 470-475. 10.1579/0044-7447-34.6.470 Cadair

    Newton, A.J., Metcalfe, S., Davies, S., Cook, G., Barker, P., Telford, R.J. 2005. Late Quaternary volcanic record from lakes of Michoacán, central Mexico. Quaternary Science Reviews 24 (1-2) pp. 91-104. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.07.008 Cadair


    Davies, S.J., Metcalfe, S.E., MacKenzie, A., Newton, A., Endfield, G.H., Farmer, J.G. 2004. Environmental changes in the Zirahuen Basin, Michoacan, Mexico, during the last 1000 years. Journal of Paleolimnology 31 (1) pp. 77-98. 10.1023/B:JOPL.0000013284.21726.3d Cadair


    Davies, S.J., Metcalfe, S.E., Caballero, M., Juggins, S. 2002. Developing diatom-based transfer functions for central Mexican lakes. Hydrobiologia 467 (1-3) pp. 199-213. 10.1023/A:1014971016298 Cadair