Geography Case Study - UK Snow Storm

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  • UK Snow Storm Case Study.
    • Causes.
      • Blocking high pressure forced the Gulf stream to move South.
        • The Gulf Stream usually give the UK a relatively mild climate compared to other countries
      • High pressure systems rotating clockwise in the North and low pressure systems moving anti-clockwise in the South drew in cold air for Europe
        • Air in Europe is colder due to the low specific heat capacity of land.
        • As this air moves over the Sea towards Britain it warms up and picks up moisture.
    • Environmental Impacts.
      • 76cm of Snow was recorded in the Peak District of the UK
      • Tempratures reached a minimum of -21.1C
    • Social Impacts.
      • Health
        • Many people suffered from Broken bones and fractures due to the falling on Ice.
        • There were over 5000 reported cases of Hypothermia with many elderly suffering and in some cases dying.
      • Transport
        • Gatwik had to be closed for two days due to dramatic ice build up on both the runway and the plains.
          • This left thousands of travelers stranded and cost Gatwik £5.5 million a day.
        • Many people were left stranded on motorways due to extensive snow fall.
          • M3, M5 and M6 were all brought to a stand still.
          • Many people had to be rescued from their cars and were trapped overnight.
        • Estimated that the total cost to the economy because of travel disruption was £285 million
      • Education
        • Around 7000 school were closed on the second of Decembre
        • Many parents would have to stay at home to look after their kids which also had a knock on effect with the economy.
    • Economic Impacts.
      • The estimated cost of the Snow storm to the UK was £1.6 Bn
      • The cost to the transport industry was £285 million
      • The Snow fell on the run up to Christmas meaning the worst effect were retailers who saw a fall in the number of people venturing out into the cold.
        • As well as this many deliveries couldn't be made due to the closing of roads meaning supermarkets looked decidedly empty.
    • Responses.
      • Gatwik spent over £10 million on deicing equipment for both the plains and the run ways.
        • Although it is argued that this type of event is so rare that the £10 million is a waste of money.
      • Scotland sent thousands of liters of fresh water to Ireland in response to the breaking of pipes and disruption to the water lines.
      • The UK had to import 100 thousand tonnes of Gritting Salt to be spread on the roads due to a low reserve in storage.


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