Shadow of the wind ghosting across our shores

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IT’S not only the landscape that undergoes a dramatic transformation at this time of year. Our coastlines do, too.

As winter slides slowly into spring and the arc of daylight stretches further with each passing day, the sea bears witness to the changing seasons – as seen in this hauntingly beautiful photograph of an ethereal spring tide flowing up the beach along the Yorkshire coast.

The groynes stand like coastal sentinels and while we have grown accustomed to their presence along our beaches, they actually play an important role in many places by preventing the sand being washed away by strong tides.

Those of you who can remember your geography lessons from your school days will know that groynes are helpful in controlling erosion.

Built in rows at right angles to the beach, these wooden barriers strengthen our beaches which, in turn, act as a natural defence. On the downside groynes aren’t very attractive.

At this time of year, though, they can lessen the impact of tidal surges.

Tides are governed by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. When the two align, their gravitational pull causes larger than average tides, known as spring tides – which we get twice a month.

There are some occasions when rare astronomical alignment causes high tides to be higher than usual.

This creates a so-called “super tide” and last year these battered some of our coastlines, particularly in the south.

But these bigger than normal astronomical high tides don’t lead to coastal flooding alone – it requires a combination of low pressure, strong winds and high tides.

These, thankfully, are rare but serve as a reminder of just how much tides impact on our lives. They aren’t just important to life in the sea, they have an effect on ships and fishing and without them our world would be a very different place.

Technical details: Nikon D3’s Lens Nikon 12-24mm, Shutter Speed 1/8s, Aperture F/11, ISO 1EV under 200.