Forsol, Hammerfest, Norway; By Andrew Cooper

Forsol Beach

By Andrew Cooper, University of Ulster

The coast of northern Norway is much warmer than equivalent latitudes in North America and Asia, proof of the North Atlantic Drift that caries equatorial water to these northern latitudes and gives north western Europe its moderate climate.

Near Hammerfest (71oN- equivalent to Baffin Island) small sandy beaches have developed in little bays on what is otherwise a high, rocky coastline. Near the fishing village of Forsol is a small beach that is only accessible by a foot track over a high rocky hill that bears very fresh scars of the last glaciation. The beach is made of fine carbonate sand derived from the skeletons of marine organisms, a type of beach that is more commonly associated with the tropics. Here, however, despite the latitude, this is the only source of sand as the resistant bedrock produces only pebbles and boulders.

The small flat beach is cut by several small streams that drain the mountainous surrounding landscape. These streams create tiny channels as they run across it and reveal the sand to be just a thin veneer on the surface. The large number of streams means that the beach hardly dries out, even at low tide.

Consequently, there is only a tiny area of wind-blown sand dunes a few metres long at one end of the beach. Behind the modern beach is an area of bog peat sustained by the water flowing constantly from the steep mountainous slopes all around. Behind the bog is a large raised beach made up of boulders, which bears testimony to the fact that the land has risen here faster than sea level for the past few thousand years at least.

Despite its inaccessibility, the local authorities have provided a visitors book, complete with pen, in a specially constructed box that looks like a North American mailbox. A visitor to the area in summer will have to compete with reindeer for space as the Sami herdsmen graze their animals near the coast at this time of year. In winter they are driven inland to drier pastures.

The Hammerfest area is one study site in the European “CoastAdapt” project which is working with local coastal communities to consider the options for adapting to future climate change.

Algae Blankets China Beaches

Green beach – Qingdao, China. Photo source: ©© Philip Roeland


Local authorities and residents in the popular tourist destination have been struggling over the summer to remove a large mass of green algae that has washed ashore. As of late June, the algae bloom, or green tide, covered more than 170 square miles (440 square kilometers) of coasts south of Qingdao.

The algae blanketing the city’s beaches belongs to a species of marine plankton known as Enteromorpha prolpifera…

Read Full Article, National Geographic

Rip Currents Continue to Worsen Along US East Coast

Rip Current
Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water. Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer. NOAA


Although Hurricane Earl is nowhere near Southeastern North Carolina right now, Hurricane Danielle is making herself felt in the coastal waters, bringing dangerous rip currents to the U.S. East Coast.

Lifeguards say some of our beaches are experiencing some of the roughest rip currents they have seen in a long time…

Read Full Article: “Hurricane Danielle brings dangerous rip currents to the U.S. East Coast”, WECT

Rip currents are the greatest hazards on most beaches, San Diego Surfing Academy, CA
This national award-winning video shows what they are, how to spot them, what to do if you get stuck in one, and the different types of rips.

Learn techniques on how to swim safely in rip tides or currents, San Diego Surfing Academy, CA

How to Identify & Avoid Rip Currents, A youtube video By Tom Harris

How Rip Currents Work, Science
They are the number-one concern for beach lifeguards: About 80 percent of all beach rescues are related to rip currents. Despite these startling statistics, many swimmers don’t know anything about rip currents, and they have no idea how to survive when caught in one. In this article, we’ll find out what causes rip currents, how you can recognize them and what you should do if one takes you out to sea.
A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water running perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 200 to 2,500 feet (61 to 762 m) lengthwise, but they are typically less than 30 feet (9 m) wide. Rip currents can move at a pretty good speed, often 5 miles per hour (8 kph) or faster…

More On Rip Currents, Coastal Care

Rip Current
Image source: NOAA.

Tiny Gulf Sea Creature Could Shed Light on Oil Spill’s Impact

tarballs on beach
Extensive tarballs are visible in the foreground and surf zone in this image from Gulf Islands National Seashore, Flor., shot on July 1, 2010. Captions and Photo source: NOAA


A University of Alabama molecular biologist will soon bring dozens of tiny, transparent animals that live in Gulf Coast waters back to his campus laboratory as part of an effort to better understand the oil spill’s long-term impact on the coastal environment and creatures living there…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Experts: Submerged oil threatens organisms

BP oil spill. Photo source: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Emily F. Alley.


Two of coastal Alabama’s foremost marine experts agree that using dispersants to combat this summer’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill will cause problems in the northern Gulf of Mexico for years to come, but not because the chemicals BP PLC administered to break the crude into microscopic pieces pose any significant human health risk.

“Now we’ve got this stuff in the Gulf of Mexico, unknown locations, unknown toxicity, unknown rates of degradation, unknown rates of assimilation into the food chain,” Crozier said…

Read Full Article, AL Online

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to raise awareness of and mobilize people against the ongoing decimation of coastlines around the world.

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