By Manson, Tim, Hamill, Alistair
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Extra resources for CCEA Geography AS Student Unit Guide
For example, when the Birds Point levée was blown up to save Cairo, the floodwaters spilled out onto the surrounding landscape and 100 homes were flooded as a result. Further south, in Memphis, the levées that had been built to protect the downtown area worked, but the floodwaters instead covered the suburban areas, flooding 1,300 homes. Land l Significant flood events in the Mississippi, such as that in 2011, are triggered by physical causes including snow melt and heavier-than-usual rain. Once these physical factors trigger the heightened flood risk, the scale of the floods is increased by human factors such as levées and the tendency for development on the floodplain.
As precipitation only slightly exceeds levels of evapotranspiration the soils experience limited leaching, and so there is little loss of nutrients via this output. The leaching that does occur is mostly associated with the spring snowmelt and the heavy summer storms. In fact, the high summer temperatures and lack of soil moisture actually draw water upwards from the lower levels by capillary action. This leads to nodules of calcium carbonate in the upper C horizon (known as the Cca horizon). Consequently, the soil nutrient store is the largest in this ecosystem.
These roots further stabilise the soil and increase the dune height. The sand dunes at Portstewart form a series of ridges roughly parallel with the beach. As you cross over the first ridge into the dune slack, the microclimate changes and becomes noticeably more sheltered. This, along with the improving soil quality, allows a wider variety of plant species to grow. At first, mosses grow in the spaces between the marram grass and rosette plants such as dandelions start to appear. These plants tend to spread laterally, covering the surface of the soil, reducing moisture loss via evaporation and helping the soil temperature to remain a little higher.