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Summer is here – explore our collection of seasonal datasets

Picture: Ethan Robertson at


Britain has been basking in sunshine this week with the hottest day of the year so far recorded near Heathrow Airport on Thursday at 33.3C (92F), according to the Met Office.

It’s clear – summer has well and truly arrived.

For researchers interested in the impact of seasonal changes, there are a number of datasets to explore in the UK Data Service collection.

One interesting study Attitudes towards Extending British Summer Time, 1986 uses face-to-face interviews to assess the effect that the system of changing the clocks has on rural businesses and those employed in rural areas.

A total of 496 interviews were undertaken with employers, employees and other adult citizens.

Respondents were asked to give their views on three alternative seasonal time systems: permanent British Summer Time (GMT plus 1 hour); British Summer Time from late February to late November; and British Summer Time from late March to late October, which is the system we use at present.

Opinions were sought on the impact of daylight hours on working conditions, especially outdoors, on recreation and tourism and on children’s travel to school.


Public attitudes to extreme hot weather were the subject of an longitudinal study Understanding public perceptions of and responses to heat waves: A behavioural decision research approach which took place in the wake of the 2013 heatwave.

To promote public protection against heat during this time, the National Health Service and Public Health England released a heat wave plan. Recommended heat protection behaviours included staying in the shade, drinking plenty of liquids, and keeping an eye on vulnerable individuals. However, there is reason to believe that UK residents often have positive feelings about hot summer weather, which may undermine their willingness to implement recommended heat protection behaviours.

Through a series of online surveys, participants reported on their heat protection behaviours, trust in the agencies that release the heat wave plan, feelings about heat, and so on.


Climate change

Scientific evidence suggests that the increase in extreme weather events is related to climate change and the UK Data Service holds numerous datasets related to this subject.

They include Public Perceptions of Climate Change across Four European Countries: United Kingdom, France, Germany and Norway, 2016  – survey data of over 4,000 people, which provides detailed insight into public perceptions of climate change and support for related policies and energy sources.

The data came from face-to-face and telephone interviews, and was collected by the research company Ipsos Mori who was chosen through an EU-wide tendering process.

To find other related datasets, search the UK Data Service data catalogue on its main website.