Centre for World Environmental History

George Adamson

George is currently employed as a Lecturer in Geography at King’s College London, with a research and teaching focus on the history of climate and social responses to climatic variability in the Indian Ocean World. He completed a PhD at the University of Brighton in July 2012 and was employed by the Centre for World Environmental History from June 2012 to September 2013. His work analyses the multifaceted dimensions of social vulnerability to climatic variability in nineteenth-century western India, particularly the emergence of market-driven drought response upon the move from Indian to colonial governance. George’s work has also investigates the evolution of colonial cultural attitudes towards tropical climates, encompassing medical and racial climatic narratives.

The physical element of George’s research utilises narrative descriptions of climate within documentary information to generate proxy-reconstructions of climatic conditions in the years before widespread instrumental meteorological monitoring. He has generated reconstructions of both monsoon intensity and the date of monsoon onset over western India, leading to better understanding of the roles of global climatic fluctuations such as El Niño Southern Oscillation upon monsoon rainfall. Prior to his current work, George has also undertaken research into contemporary environmental issues within the subcontinent, specifically the contamination of drinking water sourced from artesian wells by naturally occurring arsenic, and associated epidemiological effects.

George is a member of the steering committee of the AHRC-funded network “Collaborative research on the meteorological and botanical history of the Indian Ocean, 1600-1900”, which is run by the Centre for World Environmental History.



Nash, D.J. and Adamson, G.C.D. (2013) Recent advances in the historical climatology of the tropics and subtropics. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00030.1 [online first]

Adamson, G.C.D. and Nash, D.J. (2013) Documentary reconstruction of monsoon rainfall variability over western India, 1781-1860. Climate Dynamics doi: 10.1007/s00382-013-1825-6 [online first]

Adamson, G.C.D and Nash, D.J. (2013) Long-term variability in the date of monsoon onset over western India. Climate Dynamics 40(11-12) 2589-2603

Adamson, G.C.D. (2012) ‘The languor of the hot weather’: Everyday perspectives on weather and climate in colonial Bombay, 1819-1828. Journal of Historical Geography 38(2) 143-152

Mondal, D., Adamson, G.C.D, Nickson, R. and Polya, D.A. (2008), A comparison of two techniques for calculating groundwater arsenic-related lung, bladder and liver cancer disease burden using data from Chakdha block, West Bengal.Applied Geochemistry 23(11) 2999-3009.

Adamson, G.C.D. and Polya, D.A. (2007), Critical pathway analysis to determine key uncertainties in net impacts on disease burden in Bangladesh of arsenic mitigation involving the substitution of arsenic bearing for groundwater drinking water supplies. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A – Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering 42(12) 1909-1917



Royal Historical Society (RHS) Postgraduate Travel Award, 2010 and 2011.

Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) UK Trust Travel Grant, 2011.

Dudley Stamp Memorial Award, 2010.