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“Discuss the Impacts of Storm Events in the British Isles and Evaluate the Responses to Them” (40 Marks)

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“Discuss the impacts of storm events in the British Isles and evaluate the responses to them” (40 marks)
A storm event is characterised by very strong winds and (or) heavy rainfall over a short period of time. They can occur more often In the British Isles due to the climate it has. It is located between the Polar and Ferrell cell which means it is influenced by the jet stream, these regulate the nation’s climate. Its temperate climate comes about due to its oceanic and air born currents, but the main regulator of the BI is the North Atlantic drift. This comes from the Caribbean, and carries warm tropical air towards the BI and results in the South-Westerly prevailing winds. Although beneficial is some ways, this unstable air around the Caribbean area, due to warm temperatures causing air to rise rapidly and air replacing this at the earth’s surface, can also be transported up to the BI. These hurricanes and strong tropical storms will never fully impact the BI as it does further south due the air masses cool as it travels over the Atlantic, but depressions are likely to occur.
Depressions form when a mix of hot light air and cold dense air come together. Instability over the Polar Front allows hot air to force its way into the colder air and a boundary forms called the warm front. Because the cold air is more dense it under cuts it and the cold front forms. This is faster and will eventually catch up with the warm front and lift away.
The great storm of 1987 was a major storm event in the British Isles which caused international chaos and death. The depression formed over the Bay of Biscay on October the 15th 1987 and quickly began to impact the BI. As soon as the storm moved in, predicted wrongly by the Met Office, the impacts began to roll in as people were not expecting the massive power the depression generated. This can be related to an incident which happened in 2015, a long period of heavy rain in Keswick caused mass flooding in which one person died. The flooding was predicted to happen once every 200-250 years and the 2015 flood was the second in a decade. It was the worst storm in 300 years and warranted the home sectary to call a meeting effective immediately. Winds reached up to 94 mph in London and fastest recorded were in the English Channel at 115 mph. These high winds caused primary deaths as trees toppled and shop fronts fell, 13 died in total. 5 in Kent, 2 firemen in Dorset where a tree fell on a house, a motorcyclist in Kings Lyn and one elderly man died of exposure on a beach in Sussex. These falling trees caused mass scale damage, the primary effects resulted in 1 million with no electricity as the trees fell on the lines. In the 2015 flood of Desmond, water flooded the electricity generators resulting in mass losses of power across the town. They also blocked roads and rail lines slowing down emergency services and bringing the UK to a halt, people couldn’t turn up to work and the stock market began to be effected. Black Monday followed and the great storm could be seen as a contributing factor. This long term effect shows the longevity of the impacts of a storm and secondary impacts can be just as bad as primary. 15 million trees fell and whole forests were flattened e.g. Sussex the council began to clear the trees up, but the long term impacts of this are large. The removal of the trees meant they could not biodegrade and potential nutrients were removed from the soil which would have aided the trees that would have followed the ones being blown out of the ground. In evaluating the impacts it was quite clear to see that this caused massive long term effects not just short term. 100 million in insurance claims set the government back massive costs weakening the economy. When followed with the immediate impact of Black Monday the UK economy was crippled. Business’ lost mass amounts of money as shop fronts were destroyed and shoppers were scared to go outside. Ferries were temporarily stopped as a Sea Link ferry was run a shore of the coast of Folkston. Another evaluative point is that the extent of the Storm did not stop In the British Isles, the storm merely started its long destructive path there; as it passed into France a further 4 people died. A day later on the 16th of October the destruction was final and clear. It was now the job of the Government and local councils to clear up the mess.
After the storms had gone, the people of England tried in many ways to rejuvenate their land. Trees were planted in an attempt to restore the millions of trees that had fallen and those trees that had fallen had been taken to be used prematurely for resources such as furniture and paper. Generally widespread panic was a factor of the storms during and after the time as well as people blaming the Met Office for not forecasting the storm prior to the events. These responses cost 10’s of millions of pounds and were necessary to replenish the lost nutrients and regain the balance of C02 uptake and 02 output the carbon cycle causes.
Since the storm newer and better weather indicators were stationed in the Atlantic ocean as well as points throughout the British Isles which means that if anything looks like it is heading out way then we will be warned in plenty of time. This is one of the most important responses as a cause of a lot of the destruction was a lack of knowledge the event was going to cause. But an issue with this is only 3 years later a massive storm occurred again, 47 people died and 3 million trees were knocked over. This resulted in 1.9 million insurance claims as well. This statistic is great for evaluation of the methods put in place to respond to the storm in 1987 as it shows the extent to which they had an effect. Clearly in this case the effects were not big enough as even with an increase in the technology used to inform the public of the accurate weather it still caused more deaths in 1990. Although the success of some methods were clear, most offices in London now have a backup generator which means that they can fire up if another blackout occurs. This means that the stock market will not be effected as much next time as was the case in 1987 and in 1990 there was minimal if any effect on the market and the economy was not effected in the long term. Airports themselves have a sophisticated weather system which means that they can predict if a flight is likely to get delayed or cancelled and tell the customers sooner rather than at the time. Trees now are often planted not too close to buildings so that if they do fall then no damage is called to houses or other buildings.
Developed even more recently, the Cray super computer has altered the weather forecast forever. The accuracy of where a storm will hit and how it will affect the area are clearer than ever. Wind strength and amount of rain are calculated with ease.…...

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