The impact of future climate on historic interiors

Paul Lankester, Peter Brimblecombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The socio-economic significance of climate change is widely recognised. However, its potential to affect our cultural heritage has not been discussed in detail (i.e. not explicit in IPCC 4) even though the cultural impacts of future outdoor climate have been the focus of some European Commission projects (e.g. NOAH'S ARK) and World Heritage Centre reports. Recently there have been a few projects that have examined the changing environmental threats to tangible heritage indoors (e.g. Preparing Historic Collections for Climate Change and Climate for Culture). Here we predict future indoor temperature and humidity, and damage arising from changes to climate in historic rooms in Southern England with little climate control, using simple building simulations coupled with high resolution (~. 5. km) climate predictions. The calculations suggest an increase in indoor temperature over the next century that is slightly less than that outdoors. Annual relative humidity shows little change, but the seasonal cycles suggest drier summers and slightly damper winters indoors. Damage from mould growth and pests is likely to increase in the future, while humidity driven dimensional change to materials (e.g. wood) should decrease somewhat. The results allow collection managers to prepare for the impact of long-term climate change, putting strategic measures in place to prevent increased damage, and thus preserve our heritage for future generations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-254
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2012

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