Anticyclone case study: summer heatwave August 2003

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Geography climatic hazards revision
Anticyclone case study- summer heat wave August 2003
High pressure over France for 20 days blocking maritime air from the tropic and
drew hot continental air from Africa. UK highest temperature was 38.5 degrees C
and in Southern Spain it was over 40 degrees C.
Social/economic effects
15,000 died due to heat in France, led to shortage of space to store dead
bodies. 2000 heat related deaths in the UK, 2,100 in Portugal, 3,100 in
Italy, 1,500 in Holland and 300 in Germany
Heatstroke- core body temperature becomes too high leading to headaches,
dizziness, death
Dehydration- loss of water from our bodies can cause tiredness, problems
with breathing and heart rates
Sun burn- damage to skin is painful and could increase risk of skin cancer.
Air pollution- 1/3 deaths in UK caused by poor air quality
Drowning- some people drowned when trying to cool off in lakes and rivers
Reduced crop yields- wheat yields down by 20% in France, 12% in UK and
75% in Ukraine.
Water supplies- drinking water supplies affected in areas of the UK and
hosepipe bans introduced
Tourism- some areas of the UK reported higher tourist rates as people
decided to holiday in the UK while weather was unusually dry and hot
Agriculture- livestock died and crops failed
Transport- railway tracks buckled in the heat. London underground became
unbearable, low river levels prevented some boats from sailing
London eye was closed on one day as cabins were too hot
Energy- 2 nuclear power plants in Germany closed as they relied on water
for cooling in the power generation process
Environmental effects
Low levels in rivers and lakes- river Danube in Serbia fell to its lowest
level in 100 years. Bombs and tanks from WW2 which had been submerged
for decades were revealed, causing danger to people swimming in rivers.
Reservoirs for public water supply and HEP either dried up or ran very
Forest fires- lack of water created dry conditions. In Portugal, 215,000
hectares of forest was destroyed. Millions of tonnes of topsoil was eroded
after the fires as the protection of the forest was removed which made
river water quality poor when the ask and soil was washed into the rivers

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Geography climatic hazards revision
Melting glaciers- extreme snow and glacier melt in the European Alps led
too increased rock and ice falls in the mountains.…read more


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