Scientists are compiling the first detailed map of Britain’s recedingcoastline, which is drowning due to rising ocean levels. The project isbeing carried out at Filey on the northeast coast of England, where land isdisappearing at a rate of 10 inches every year.

A team from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne is using aerialphotographs from a ultralight aircraft, satellite pictures, and advancedcomputer technology to build a 3D model of coastal erosion in the area. JonMills, who is leading the project, says the information will be used todecide where to locate sea defenses.

“The traditional techniques involve watching wooden posts falling into thesea to estimate how much the coast is eroding,” says Mills. “What we’redoing is using satellite technology, digital aerial photography andground-based global positioning systems to build the most accurate modelever of coastal erosion.”

The researchers will use the data to create a 3D computer model of an 8 milestretch of coastline. By comparing the model with monthly satellitephotographs provided by the European Space Agency, they hope to be able topredict when and where coastal erosion will occur as global warmingcontinues to heat up.

Meanwhile, England has been having the kind of weather usually found inKansas or Oklahoma. Storms have hit hard across the country, with lightning,driving rain, gales and even tornadoes. In London, flooding closed threeLondon Underground (subway) stations.

Bedraggled victims of the freak weather told emergency services about”twisters”, downed trees, flying cars and electrified houses. In Berkshire,a spokesman for the Meteorological Office told about his sighting of atriple twister looming over the skyline. “I’ve worked at the Met Office forover ten years but I’ve never seen anything like this. They lasted for a fewseconds, and then quickly dissipated. It was just an appetizer really. Iwouldn’t go storm-chasing like in the film Twister but I’d definitely liketo get really close to one.”

While fire crews battled blazes caused by lightning, a sleeping man inHampshire received a rude awakening when his mobile home flipped upsidedown.It got caught up in a mini-twister and was catapulted over an automobilebefore coming to rest several yards away. Paramedics treated the startledman for minor injuries and shock.

“We have suffered a monsoon-style deluge and a number of shops have beenshut temporarily and sandbagged to prevent their basements from flooding,”said a Fire Brigade spokesman.

Tony Murrell of West Yorkshire said, “It looked like a flock of birds flyingaround and then I realized it was debris and rain being sucked upwards andmoving towards us.I thought it was headed straight for us but then it veered off and took thetwo caravans (mobile homes).”

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