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)

Postdoctoral Supervision

  • Dr Marie-Jeanne Royer

Research Groups


150,000-year palaeoclimate record from northern Ethiopia supports early, multiple dispersals of modern humans from AfricaLamb, H., Bates, C. R., Bryant, C. L., Davies, S., Huws, D. G., Marshall, M. H. & Roberts, H. M. 2018 In : Scientific Reports.8, 1077
8000 years of North Atlantic storminess reconstructed from a Scottish peat record: implications for Holocene atmospheric circulation patterns in Western EuropeStewart, H., Bradwell, T., Bullard, J. E., Davies, S. & McCulloch, R. 2017 In : Journal of Quaternary Science.
Dealing with the deluge of historical weather data: the example of the TEMPEST databaseVeale, L., Endfield, G. H., Davies, S., Macdonald, N., Naylor, S., Royer, M-J., Bowen, J., Tyler-Jones, R. & Jones, C. 2017 In : Geo: Geography and Environment.4, 2, 16 p., e00039
Past penguin colony responses to explosive volcanism on the Antarctic PeninsulaRoberts, 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-J., Bentley, M. J. & Hodgson, D. A. 2017 In : Nature Communications.8, 14914
Extracting a primary Holocene crytoptephra record from Pupuke maar sediments, Auckland, New ZealandZawalna-Geer, A., Lindsay, J. M., Davies, S. M., Augustinus, P. & Davies, S. 2016 In : Journal of Quaternary Science.31, 5, p. 442 - 457457 p.
The Hominin sites and Palaeolakes Drilling Project: Testing hypotheses of climate-driven human evolution and dispersal at Chew Bahir, EthiopiaLamb, 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 p. 2091 p.
Climatic variability, plasticity, and dispersal: A case study from Lake Tana, EthiopiaGrove, M., Lamb, H., Roberts, H. M., Davies, S., Marshall, M. H., Bates, R. & Huws, D. 2015 In : Journal of Human Evolution.87, p. 32-4716 p.
Late Holocene climate reorganisation and the North American MonsoonJones, M. D., Metcalfe, S. E., Davies, S. J. & Noren, A. 2015 In : Quaternary Science Reviews.124, p. 290-2956 p.
Curation and contextualisation of Welsh weather extremes by 18th and 19th century diaristsJones, C., Davies, S. & Royer, M-J. 2015
Micro-XRF core scanning in palaeolimnology: recent developmentsDavies, S., Lamb, H. & Roberts, S. J. 2015 Micro-XRF Studies of Sediment Cores : Applications of a non-destructive tool for the environmental sciences.Springer Nature, Vol. 17, p. 189-22638 p. (Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research; vol. 17)
The Holocene history of the North American Monsoon: 'known knowns' and 'known unknowns' in understanding its spatial and temporal complexityMetcalfe, S. E., Barron, J. A. & Davies, S. J. 2015 In : Quaternary Science Reviews.120, p. 1-27
Reconstructed centennial variability of Late Holocene storminess from Cors Fochno, Wales, UKOrme, L. C., Davies, S. J. & Duller, G. A. T. 2015 In : Journal of Quaternary Science.30, 5, p. 478-488
Weather extremes in Wales – a historical perspectiveJones, C. & Davies, S. 2014 In : Natur Cymru - Nature of Wales.50
‘I do not remember the weather so severe…’ a historical perspective on weather extremes in WalesJones, C. & Davies, S. 2014
Examining the social consequences of extreme weather: the impact of the 1947 winter in upland Wales, UKJones, C. A., Davies, S. J. & Macdonald, N. 2012 In : Climatic Change.113, 1, p. 35-53
Late Pleistocene and Holocene drought events at Lake Tana, the source of the Blue NileMarshall, M. H., Lamb, H. F., Huws, D., Davies, S. J., Bates, R., Bloemendal, J., Boyle, J., Leng, M. J., Umer, M. & Bryant, C. 2011 In : Global and Planetary Change.78, 3-4, p. 147-16115 p.
Climate variability over the last two millennia in the North American monsoon region, recorded in laminated lake sediments from Laguna de Juanacatlan, MexicoMetcalfe, S. E., Jones, M. D., Davies, S. J., Noren, A. & Mackenzie, A. B. 2010 In : Holocene.20, 8, p. 1195-120612 p.
Registro sedimentario de los ultimos 17,000 años del Lago de Zirahuén, Michoacán, MexicoVazquez, G., Ortega, B., Davies, S. & Aston, B. 2010 In : Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana.62, 3
Historical Weather Accounts from Wales: An Assessment of their Potential for Reconstructing ClimateMacdonald, N., Jones, C. A., Davies, S. J. & Charnell-White, C. A. 2010 In : Weather.65, 3, p. 72-81
Hinsawdd Hanesyddol: Potensial Ffynonellau Dogfennol CymruJones, C. A., Davies, S. J., Charnell-White, C. A., Macdonald, N., Elias, T. & Brown, D. 2010 In : Gwerddon.6, p. 34-54
Climatic change in northern Ethiopia during the past 17,000 years: a diatom and stable isotope record from Lake AshengeMarshall, M. H., Lamb, H. F., Davies, S. J., Leng, M. J., Kubsa, Z., Umer, M. & Bryant, C. 2009 In : Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.279, 1-2, p. 114-12714 p.
Documenting disaster: Archival investigations of climate, crisis and catastrophe in colonial MexicoEndfield, G. H., Davies, S., Fernandez-Tejedo, I. & Metcalfe, S. E. 2009 Natural Disasters and cultural responses : Case studies toward a global environmental history. Mauch, C. & Pfister, C. (eds.). Rowman & Littlefield, p. 305-32622 p.
Deciphering recent climate change in central Mexican lake recordsMetcalfe, S. & Davies, S. J. 2007 In : Climatic Change.83, 1-2, p. 169-18618 p.
Long and short-term change in the Patzcuaro Basin, central MexicoMetcalfe, S. E., Davies, S. J., Braisby, J., Leng, M. J., Newton, A. J., Terrett, N. L. & O'Hara, S. L. 2007 In : Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.247, 3-4, p. 272-29524 p.
Late Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Tana, source of the Blue NileLamb, H. F., Bates, C. R., Coombes, P. M. V., Marshall, M. H., Umer, M., Davies, S. J. & Dejen, E. 2007 In : Quaternary Science Reviews.26, 3-4, p. 287-29913 p.
Investigating late holocene climate variability in central mexico using carbon isotope ratios in organic materials and oxygen isotope ratios from diatom silica within lacustrine sedimentsLeng, M. J., Metcalfe, S. E. & Davies, S. 2005 In : Journal of Paleolimnology.34, 4, p. 413-43119 p.
Lake sediments record sensitivity of two hydrologically closed upland lakes in Mexico to human impactDavies, S. J., Metcalfe, S. E., Chacon, A., Bernal-Brooks, F., Farmer, J. G., MacKenzie, A. B. & Newton, A. J. 2005 In : Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment.34, 6, p. 470-4756 p.
Late Quaternary volcanic record from lakes of Michoacán, central MexicoNewton, A. J., Metcalfe, S., Davies, S., Cook, G., Barker, P. & Telford, R. J. 2005 In : Quaternary Science Reviews.24, 1-2, p. 91-10414 p.
Environmental changes in the Zirahuen Basin, Michoacan, Mexico, during the last 1000 yearsDavies, S. J., Metcalfe, S. E., MacKenzie, A., Newton, A., Endfield, G. H. & Farmer, J. G. 2004 In : Journal of Paleolimnology.31, 1, p. 77-9822 p.
Developing diatom-based transfer functions for central Mexican lakesDavies, S. J., Metcalfe, S. E., Caballero, M. & Juggins, S. 2002 In : Hydrobiologia.467, 1-3, p. 199-21315 p.