By Paul Homewood
Can these scumbags get any worse?
From Sky News:
The UK’s coastlines will become even more dangerous because of climate change, an expert has told Sky News.
Two more people died today on Britain’s shores – a man scuba diving in Cornwall and a 17-year-old boy in the waters near Sunderland.
Last week, five young men were drowned at Camber Sands. The weekend before, seven people died in different parts of waters around the UK.
Rip currents – fast moving, narrow channels of water that can drag swimmers out to sea – are not becoming more frequent or more vicious.
But our changing climate is making them more unpredictable, according to Dr Simon Boxall, an oceanographer at the University of Southampton.
Dr Boxall told Sky News: “Climate change means not just more winter storms, but more summer storms as well, so you have an ever moving topography.
“Rip currents need an escape and so they work on the topography of the sea floor.
“Now if you get big storms, the storms can change the topography completely, they can move a sand bar a kilometre overnight. That’s how powerful they are.
“And so because you get these moving sandbars every time you get a big storm, it means predicting where the rip currents are likely to take place becomes very difficult.”
The RNLI have added Camber Sands to its “community life-saving plan”, recognising that a previously unremarkable stretch of beach has become more dangerous. It has also introduced a temporary RNLI lifeguard service.
Speaking on the beach, Darren Lewis, senior lifeguard manager at the RNLI, told Sky News: “Generally, storms happen in the winter so as we approach the summer season, we will see whether things have shifted around and new hazards have presented themselves.
“So it should be always an ongoing process and then you should look to build in the control measures, whether they be lifeguards, whether they be public rescue equipment, signage, that interaction with the public to let them know what’s happening.”
Camber Sands is notable for its strong rip currents.
Breaking waves push water towards land; rip currents form when this water finds a channel to flow quickly back out to sea, between sandbars, for example.
These currents can travel up to two-and-a-half metres per second – faster than any human swimmer.
But they are narrow so can be escaped by swimming parallel to the shore.
Tom Packman, a deckhand on a scuba diving boat operating in the waters around Camber Sands, told Sky News that riptides “could move from side to side, and the sand bars can shift which then might change the rip to a different place”.
He said: “You may come down here three or four times and be absolutely fine, and then on the fifth time it can all change and you can be caught out by it.”
In fact the factsabout the accident have not even been identified yet. But according to the BBC:
Guy Addington, from the RNLI, said: “It’s very difficult to know at the moment, we don’t have the full information, but it’s possible that they were cut off by the series of sand-bars.”
He said rip currents could occur at Camber but the sea was so calm on Wednesday that this was unlikely, and it was more likely sand-bars were involved.
“It’s entirely possible and it does happen at Camber that people become cut off on the series of sand bars that are extensive on that part of the coast,” he added.
He said there could be a 3ft (1m) difference between the the top of a sand-bar and the trough and added: “An increase of depth of 3ft to a non-proficient or non-swimmer can be really significant.”
Mr Addington also said because Camber was a “shallow, shelving beach”, the tide could go out and race in extremely fast – faster than someone could walk quickly.
“Add to that the complication of the undulating sand-bars, that can catch people out quite easily,” he said.
One of the things sure to be investigated is whether warnings about the potential hazards were properly signposted. The BBC go on:
Rother council previously said that beach patrols were on duty to advise beachgoers of potential dangers.
But Mr Ravi’s sister Mayura, 17, said the family was angry the stretch of beach where the men died had not been blocked off following Mr Da Cruz’s death [who had also drowned at Camber in July]
Mr Ravi’s brother Ajirthan, 19, said: “There weren’t any lifeguards cruising around. Because they would have quickly noticed these boys drowning, and could have at least save their lives.”
There is no evidence that the sand barriers at Camber have recently shifted, or that the swimmers were aware of them or where they were supposed to be.
Meanwhile, there is no evidence that climate change is leading to increased storminess, as the UK Climate Change Projections 2009 admitted:
The Met Office came to similar conclusions in their State of the Climate 2014 Report:
As for the future, the UK Climate Projections find no evidence that storms will get worse.
To use the climate change card so soon after a tragedy like this is unpardonable. Dr Boxall should be ashamed of himself.