The South of England and Wales has been ravaged by storms since December 23rd and there have been some major impacts for people, the environment and geomorphology. Of course mass media focusses upon the human side of the story with distressing stories ranging from deaths to flooded homes to ruined Christmas dinners. But what about the impact on geomorphology, the landscape? We know that during high energy events such as storms processes of erosion, weathering, transportation and deposition are accelerated along the coast and in rivers.
Here are some excellent images from the BBC website of before and after shots of areas impacted by the storm. This story gives the detail behind the impacts at Chesil Beach in Dorset, not far from the GCSE and AS Level fieldwork sites. Here is a short video I made on the South Cornwall coast , less dramatic than others, but it does allow a good understanding of the dynamic nature of the coastline. The final section also shows a seal pup that I witnessed being rescued after it decided the sea was too rough and a car park was a more sensible place to be! She was taken to nearby bay to be released in more calm conditions.
The media often ask the question ‘who is to blame’? Perhaps we should be looking at ourselves? Or should we look at the Government? Reports suggest that they are to cut funding ther the Environment Agency, the group who are responsible for flood protection. The Government assure us that it is admin and non-essentail spending that is being cut. The electricity companies are also being held to account. Could they have done more? Can this be attributed to global warming? Should we expect more of the same in the future? Is this really that bad or is it just that it is so well reported?As the population grows and so do sea levels I think that this sort of disruption will become a more common occurrence.