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Oct 28th 2017
I think we managed to miss the worst of the recent storms, but we should try and encourage the authorities in your area to strengthen our sea defences because this problem is not going away, act now to protect your shoreline whilst you still have the chance.
It is written like a school report – “could try harder” – although the phrase that recurs through the UK Climate Change Assessment released last week is “more action needed”. Subjects like flooding and soil loss need “new stronger or different government policies” to deal with them.
But that is not all. There are a significant number of new problems being caused by the already-changing weather patterns and warming climate that are “research priorities” because no one yet knows enough about them to form a response. Among these are risks to food supply and some forest trees dying from drought and heat.
A major problem for an island with large stretches of populated coastline is ever-faster sea level rise. The general belief is that the problems of the south-east are potentially worse because the land is sinking but it seems the north is not in the clear, either.
Waves do the most damage to coastal defences, so during a high tide on an exposed coast their size matters. Mathematicians from Strathclyde University have just calculated the effect on Scottish North Sea coasts, on communities like Aberdeen, of a combination of spring tides, strong winds and high waves. Examining just three storms in 2010 they took into account locally produced waves, swell from distant storms, and tidal currents.
The research showed that as these three interacted they could either reduce wave height or increase it by two metres. So depending on the circumstances, with locally-generated waves already 3.5m high and storm swell waves from the Norwegian Sea up to 5m, local communities could in the future face a severe battering.
A tidal surge is how we describe a situation where the normal tide is much higher than expected due to the wind and weather conditions in the catchment area, low atmospheric pressure will cause the surface of the sea to be higher than normal, this is a normal fact of nature but if it coincides with strong onshore winds then the breaking waves can be much higher than normal.
This situation is being made worse by the rising sea levels caused by global warming and in many places it is necessary to strengthen the sea defenses to meet modern conditions safely.
If you live in a coastal area you can protect yourself and your family by carefully watching the weather forecasts and listening to the local news.
The North Sea in Europe is particularly prone to this condition and it was responsible for the disastrous flooding in Holland in 1953, this caused the Dutch authorities to drastically strengthen their sea defenses and it is an ongoing battle that continues even to today.
The Dutch are experts at water management, most of their country is below sea level and they are in constant danger of being flooded, they have many innovative ideas including floating homes some of which are normally on dry land but will float if the land is flooded and others which sit on the water permanently much like house boats.
The export their expertise all over the world and many countries benefit from their experience which in today’s changing world climate is becoming more and more valuable
In England they have enjoyed the safety provided by the Thames Barrier since it was completed in 1982, inspired by the more frequent flooding and the need to protect the city of London this massive engineering project was undertaken at great expense, the port of Rotterdam is also protected but their method is to use giant swinging gates which are floated into position and then sunk to complete the seal.
It is also a good idea to contribute to an instant warning system as mentioned in the following paragraph; buzcall.com is a global company that will issue warnings in minutes, anywhere in the world.
with modern radar systems the formation and path of these storms can be
monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense,
police, local radio and television but if you haven’t got those on or maybe you
are away from home, then there is also the lifesaver, buzcall.com, they
constantly monitor threats and put the results up on these pages.