Saturday, 26 April 2014

W is for World, Weather, Wind and Waves ...


As usual I could have used W for Whales (V), Wrack (seaweed) (E + K), Winkles (D), Whelks (I + U), Worms (S), Wrasse fish, or Warping ...

Ancient marshland from the principle of
Warping at Humberhead Levels,
Humber Estuary

Warping is now seldom used for reclaiming marshland from a tidal estuary (eg Humberhead Levels) ...

... in some areas warping is a natural process: the silt from the estuary water is trapped by plants growing on the marsh ...




Wrasse (cuckoo fish)



Pretty Wrasse (cuckoo) fish ...  while the Ballan Wrasse are much appreciated as food in the Orkney Islands and Galway ...






... but I’ll stick to the ‘easier’ World of the Seashore ... to put our seashores into perspective ...
Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow, Ireland


Two-thirds of our planet is covered with water ... every fragment of land around every continent (not country), or island has a shore.



Our British Isles have an estimated shore line of between 7,723 to 12,252 miles depending on which resource you check out –see my F for Fractal post.



Granite Rocky Shore - tiny beach or none



So our shoreline appears to be huge, yet its width is hardly measurable in comparison ... none, a sandy beach, or possibly a very shallow few miles worth (maximum) at very low tides ... and for a very short time ... before the tide comes rushing in ... 




Each shore is shaped by variable factors – the tides, winds, waves, water currents, temperature, and climate and the type of rock from which the land is made.

Whitby, Yorkshire


Man too has adapted as best he can ... Whitby harbour entrance, bay, estuary entrance and coastline ... 






The Whalebone Arch
commemorates Whitby's
historic link with the
whaling industry



Whaling has been a component part of Whitby's history, from the early 1600s  ... whale was used for oil, meat, baleen and ambergris (an ingredient for the perfume industry) ... 







Along each shore a group of highly adapted plants and animals – many of them strange to our land-oriented eyes – make their homes.


Common whelk


In these A-Z posts I have explored some of our coasts’ variations and how natural life continues to adapt to changing conditions ...






The weather, that subject that has always been a talking point for a  British conversation ...


We are lucky that we live in a moderate climate as a result of geography ... the Atlantic both gains and loses its heat more slowly than land ... it therefore acts as a moderating influence.

Prevailing westerly winds stunt
tree growth in Cornwall


Most features of our climate are generated over the Atlantic – cold dry air from the Arctic mixes with the warm, moisture-laden air moving up from the Azores ... ensuring west coast rains ...




While in winter or early Spring, easterly or south-easterly air streams often blow in from north-eastern Europe, which as they cross the North Sea pick up water vapour, which can then be deposited as a blanket of snow across our eastern shores ...


 
Durdle Door, Dorset
Waves work the coast – constantly moving granite (hard) rock remnants, or eroding sandstones and limestone to form stacks or towers of rock, or just plain ‘tunnelling’ into the very soft chalk coasts ...






Waves pick up height and speed from the wind ...


Looks like about Force 3
to me ... wide beach, high tide
line, dune guardians ... 


The Beaufort Scale, which is used to define wind force, was devised in the early 1800s by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, who became Hydrographer to the Navy (1829 – 1855).






Force 12 is a hurricane, with wind speeds of 73 – 82 mph, but the scale now has been increased ... up to Force 17 (126 – 136 mph).


Whitby Fish Company - white fish, cockles, crabs,
lobsters, mussels, prawns ... 
Wind speed can be roughly estimated from fairly simple observations, I’ve only listed a few ... such as:

Wind speed less than 1 mile per hour (Force 1) = when the sea is like a mirror (calm!)

Wind speed 4 – 7 mph (Force 2) = small wavelets, no foam on crests (light air)

Wind speed 25 – 31 mph (Force 6) = large waves and spray (strong breeze)

Wind Speed 47 – 54 mph (Force 9) = rolling seas, with spray affecting visibility (strong gale)

Wind Speed 64 - 72 mph (Force 11) = storm.  Exceptionally high waves. Sea covered in long white patches of foam.

Force 12 at sea




Now we’re reaching unmeasurable wind forces ... I’ll wave goodbye and wander off til X comes around on Monday ...






That was W for World, Weather, Wind and Waves ... with a few other Ws thrown in for good measure ... from Aspects of the British Coasts ...


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

40 comments:

Val Poore said...

Water and its many faces. What a fascinating post, and some lovely images as well, Hilary. Your first photo could be here in the Netherlands. I love Durdle Door as well, but that force 12 gale is really terrifying! I'm so impressed that you do this A to Z every year!

Suzanne Furness said...

The Weather here today is returning to Wind and heavy rain showers. Porthleven food festival today and was planning to visit - Walking through the Penrose valley and along the coast path to get there. May review this plan!

Manzanita said...

You really had a wide variety of choices for "W." Waves always freak me out. When I had to live at the edge of the ocean for 25 years (had to..... meaning my husband spoke) and I would stand on the shore and look up iin the distance at the curvature of the world, I would wonder why all that water didn't come tumbling upon us.

Deniz Bevan said...

I love the word wrack. And bladderwrack.

Loving your entire series, Hilary! I'm such a huge fan of everything connected to the sea. And I'm learning a lot!

Bob Scotney said...

Whitby is a place we visit often. I hadn't seen your view of the harbour before. The Westie in a pushchair on my blog today was shot (photographed) there.

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

Every location has its dreaded weather. I think ours here in Missouri, USA are tornadoes and ice storms.

The Whalebone Arch reminds me of our St. Louis Arch.

Jo said...

I've been at sea in a Force 12 a couple of times. Not funny. Didn't know they had extended the Beaufort Scale.

That picture of fish makes me feel hungry. Never heard of Durdle Door before. The sea really does do incredible things to the land.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That Dorset coastline looks like a sea monster dipping its head under the water.
I've been through a force seventeen hurricane. Not fun.

Inger said...

Wonderful stuff for the letter W. I love everything related to the oceans, except a high force wind. Once I traveled by boat form England to Sweden and was in a storm on the North Sea that looked very much like your force 12 picture. I was the only passenger to not get seasick, I think, and once safe on land, found it to be a voyage never to be forgotten.

Rosie Amber said...

Another good post, you can never be sure of the weather.

Fanny Barnes Thornton said...

Hello Hilary
I would hate to be sailing around any coast in a gale - all those wind forces...

I'd like to visit Whitby - the bay, the fish and to see all the history - whaling - everything.

Thankfully we do live in a moderate climate - and we still moan about the weather!

Enjoy your weekend. We're nearly there, and you'll have four under your belt. I doubt if I'll manage that.

cleemckenzie said...

There's nothing more amazing than those places where land meets the sea--two distinctly different worlds that coexist on our planet and make our world fascinating.

You've added information about these shores that makes them even more interesting and exciting.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Winters have been especially fierce around here in recent years. I don't mind weather too much except for the wind. I hate wind and it's one thing that bothers me about the shore. Always is breeze there.

Paula Kaye said...

We have had lots of wind here this past week and tonight they are predicting possible tornadoes. You have taught me so much about the shore that I did not know...

Lisa said...

Thanks for the measurements on wind. Florida has more coastline than not and as such is constantly aware of the weather, the winds and storms that come through and what they can potentially damage. I hope never to experience a force 12 either at sea or on shore!

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Hilary,

More wonderful information! I can SO relate to the WNDS... THEY never stop here in Chicago....

Such amazing pics... Love the one taken in Dorset.

Hope you're having an enjoyable weekend.

J E Oneil said...

Is it just me or does that seem like a huge difference between estimations?

Sophie Duncan said...

We are so lucky with our coastline in Britain, so varied and a way of life for so many inhabitants of our little island back into pre-history. The storms this year have been incredible, though, a reminder that we don't control everything about our temperate climate.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

Juliet Batten said...

Warping is a new concept for me. I'd be intrigued to know more about it.

Sharon Bradshaw said...

This is a lovely, interesting post, Hilary, thank you. I hadn't heard of Warping or the Wrasse, and have always wanted to visit Whitby again. The last time I went was a child, and I'd love to have a proper look around.

Paula Martin said...

I love our coasts - so many contrasts for such a small island.

mail4rosey said...

Your posts are always such high quality. It's amazing to me that you can do one like this everyday. :) I think it's awesome, and the info. in all of them, this one included is always great.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

"W"?? You're already on W?? That means the April a-z challenge is almost over! What happened to April? As a matter of fact, what happened to 2014 that we're already nearly in MAY??? Time is going by so fast, my head still thinks it should be 2013!

Mason Canyon said...

Hilary, you covered some amazing things with your W post. So intriguing. But I like the photo of the Wrasse fish. It looks similar to a trout in color.

D.G. Hudson said...

I like this post a lot, Hilary, and had to make a stop via the A to Z Challenge. I love coastlines and the unique way they react to the oceans and rivers. I prefer to live near a coast, feeling almost trapped in a landlocked area.

Perhaps I was a sea creature in earlier times. . . water is soothing to some of us. (of course that's when it's not one of the Force levels you mention).

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Shall leave a short comment. I'd leave a longer comment, but with all this alphabet craze involving so many of you, Hilary, I cannot possibly keep up. Praying this is the last year of the A to Z.

When it comes to our British shorelines, we have taken quite the battering. And the water that devastated regions of our land and the lack of immediate action by our alleged government, was a disgrace.

So much for a short comment. You always do comprehensive postings and I'm doing my best to read them in their entirety.

Gary, the co-host of the Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

Have a peaceful Sunday, my good friend.

Gary

Julie Flanders said...

Oh, I love that picture of Dorset! So pretty.
Even though I've read that statistic of the percentage of the world that is water it still seems so hard to imagine. But then when you look at a globe I guess it is obvious.

Lynda R Young said...

You have some gorgeous coastlines

kaushikgovind said...

Water - no wonder or exaggeration for it to be the Elixir of Life!
And a good composition on the Wind Speeds.
Have a great week ahead :)

Tina said...

Yes, that picture of Dorset is gorgeous.
Your hurricane scale is a bit different than the American one. I believe 5 is the highest you can get and the winds then are over 100 mph. But I'm no where near the researcher you are!
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Margie said...

The cuckoo fish is so pretty.
You have some beautiful coasts.
Another great post, Hilary.
Bravo!

Sara said...

Wow. We're seeing the results of WAVES this week in Florida. The weather has been terrible. Right now a moderate climate sounds really GOOD.

I found your W post very interesting especially the part about the wind speeds.

I would like to know why the Wrasse is called the cuckoo fish.

Only a few more and you can rest. I hope you plan a vacation after your A-Z hard work:~)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val – well I guess the Humber area perhaps has similar geology ... and Durdle Door – I’ve never seen but might do later this year ... I enjoyed writing about the Beaufort scale .. highlights a few things re the wind and waves; I do enjoy the A-Z – it pushes me to learn about a different theme ..

@ Suzanne – I hope the Porthleven food festival was fun and you managed to walk round .. we’ve had a soggy May 1st .. we’ll see what the Bank Holiday holds ... enjoy it!

@ Manzanita – the earth is an amazing place .. as you say holding all that water in place – essentially by that small sphere just above us that waxes and wanes ... and the Pacific Ocean is one daunting place.

@ Deniz – they are good names aren’t they ... wrack and bladder wrack. Delighted you’ve enjoyed your time here and that it’s enhanced your view of the sea ..

@ Bob – that’s definitely not a picture I should be using .. but couldn’t resist it – as it showed the harbours, the protective stone piers, the little beach and then the divisive river ... and clearly showed the hinterland around; I loved seeing all your dogs this year ... and your Westie was one zonked dog!

@ Teresa – I hope you haven’t been in those recent tornadoes ... and ice storms must be terrifying too ... and that everyone’s safe. We forget we used to go whaling ... before we realised the damage we were causing ...

@ Jo – I definitely am not happy at sea ... I’ve crossed the Channel on a couple of rough occasions .. and wasn’t a happy bunny – mind you Mum and I survived! Durdle Door is a Dorset coast special .. I might see it from the sea later this year ...

Water is incredibly corrosive, not just sea water either ... and that fishmongers looks to provide some goodies – just right for after the A-Z ...?!

@ Alex – we can imagine all kinds of things when we look in different ways ... and it could well be a sea monster ... Force 17 – no thank you!

@ Inger – the oceans and seas give us great vistas, horror stories .. but their lore is fascinating ... but I’d rather not be in a ship ... especially one like yours – still great that you survived to tell the happy tale! And as you say a voyage never to be forgotten ..

@ Rosie – many thanks .. I know we enter May with some rain.

@ Fanny – I’m definitely not a sailor ... but like you I’d like to visit Whitby and hope to get it on my list sometime soon .. to see so much history there and the birth of Dracula ...

We do always talk about the weather ... and we had rain on May 1st – just hope the Bank Holiday weather is better for one and all ..

@ Lee – that’s so true .. the land and the sea are two separate worlds aren’t they .. we so often forget that lots happens in the sea or at the shore line: I’ve taught myself loads too ..

@ Susan – you’ve certainly had odd winters recently – I was pleased we had a mild one – very windy though and lots of storms .. but not snow or ice. I agree I really don’t freezing weather with really bad winds ... but sometimes a breeze is a good thing – cools us down a little .. freshens the air ...

@ Paula – you were right about the tornadoes .. I sure hope you were safe where you were ... we do get tiny tornadoes here .. but usually they don’t affect us ..

Delighted that I’ve intrigued you a little about our shores ...

@ Lisa – the Beaufort Scale was interesting to write about ... and yes Florida does have much more coastline than many States have; Experiencing a tornado or hurricane must be really frightening .. so like you I too hope to never be in the wrong place at the wrong time ...

@ Michael – I can imagine the winds in Chicago must blow in from all directions across huge swathes of water too .. Dorset’s Durdle Door is courtesy Wikipedia ...

Cheers - part 2 following ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ JE – I’m not sure what you’re referring to here .. I hope you’re commenting on the various wind speeds ... I didn’t set them all out, only listing a few ...

@ Sophie – aren’t we lucky with our coastline .. and not being too far ever from the sea ... I’ve always loved it and missed it when I was in Johannesburg.

Our climate is temperate and I certainly hope it remains that way – so much is changing .. but it’s nature’s way ... and we should even thank nature for exposing our pre-history ... we can still find out about our past. We don’t and can’t control the weather .. for the time being and long may that be ...

@ Juliet – warping is when a wall of earth was built along the seaward edge of the marshland to be reclaimed, with one entrance guarded by a sluice gate. When the tide rose the gate was opened allowing the silt-laden water to spread over the land. As the water drained away it left a deposit of rich silt, and within a few years the land inside the wall was raised by a foot or two ...

The new land was extremely fertile and did not need extra enrichment for many years. The concept stopped principally because of the manpower needed ... or as I mentioned it’s a natural process ...

@ Sharon – glad you enjoyed the post ... I didn’t know about warping either, though it makes sense ... and I’m not sure if Wrasse haven’t made it to the fishmongers in recent years ... but it was a fun fish to write about ... and like you I’d like to visit Whitby, as I’ve never been

@ Paula – Britain really does have lots of different takes on life doesn’t it ..

@ Rosie- so pleased you’ve enjoyed my posts .. and thank you for the complements ..

@ Judy – I know April dashes by doing the A – Z ... today is now May, which is incredible .. time certainly flies, rather faster than I’d like ... lovely to see you though!!

@ Mason – many thanks ... there’s so much to blog about on coasts and shoreline ... trout are less colourful and not usually found in the sea – so that eliminated them from being written about ... Isn’t the wrasse colourful though ..


Many thanks part 3 following ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ DG – delighted to see you calling in ... and I prefer to be near the coast, always have been I guess living in England (except for my time in South Africa – Jo’burg) and I felt ‘lost’ sometimes being so far away from history and as you say almost trapped ...

Water is soothing – but not the storms we’ve been having ... or that occur around the world when nature takes its course ...

@ Gary – lots of happenings with the A – Zs ... I know some of my posts have been long – but it’s the way I prefer the A-Z usually ... There’s not much we can do to protect ourselves from nature ... but it’s good of you to visit and to see Penny sometimes too ...

@ Julie – so much water everywhere .. as we know from our own shorelines – or your family’s shores at Martha’s Vineyard ... and the weather does take its cue from the oceans ...

@ Lynda – many thanks ... Britain is very pretty ...

@ Kaushik – thanks ...water is the elixir of life, as you say – and so pleased you enjoyed the Beaufort Scale overview ..

@ Tina – Dorset is a very pretty county ... and yes our scales are somewhat different now – and we may well use the American version .. up to force 17 I think ... not sure about the ‘5’ – but any scale of wind higher than mid-range is ‘interesting’!

@ Margie – the cuckoo fish is pretty – there are other varieties that are prettier, but they live in tropical waters, as we’d expect ... many thanks ...

@ Sara – yes you’ve had your storms once again .. and now tornadoes; we are definitely in Spring .. it’s not warm, but not cold either – I’m pleased to say. A wet first of May .. but should be brighter at the weekend ...

So pleased you found the wind speed section interesting ... and I’ve no idea why the cuckoo fish is called that ... there is a Cornish connection – which has an interesting connotation – as to a hag, or old woman ... as Wrasse is derived from the Cornish word wragh – see Wiki ... which doesn’t list the Cuckoo Wrasse!

Thanks so much to you all – it’s been lovely having your comments ... and finally getting round to answering some of the questions and queries ... Now we’re resting perhaps! Cheers to one and all - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi all - I need to add to the naming of the CUCKOO WRASSE .. apparently the Cornish fishermen associated the blue markings with bluebell flowers.

In the Cornish language, a bluebell is bleujen an gog: literally meaning "the cuckoo flower"

Update complete! Cheers Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

I love that Durdle Door rock formation - very shapely and pretty... and the Whalebone Arch...
Those unmeasurable wind forces are scary... especially the picture of Force 12 at sea...

Juliet Batten said...

Thanks for the great description of warping Hilary.

Amanda Trought said...

Hilary, such lovely photographs, reading your posts always makes me want to travel, their are so many great places to visit. Have you ever thought of writing travel guides, blessings

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Michelle - another comment I never got back to reply to ... so happy you enjoyed the various bits and bobs ...

@ Juliet - thanks re the Warping ... I hadn't come across the term for 'sea- land reclamation' as such ... so had to put it in ... it serves its purpose in the description doesn't it ...

@ Amanda - thanks so much ... I'm sure you will travel a lot at some stage and there are so so many places to visit. Others keep suggesting I publish some of these posts ... it will happen - soon, rather than later: I hope!

Cheers to you three ... and sorry I'm only two years late replying!