Timewatch Kills the Wave

Relates to Science and Meteorology

While I had high expectations for a rigorous and hotly contested debate on the cause of the 1606/07 Great Flood in Timewatch's The Killer Wave on Friday evening, the title really gave away little hope of anything other than a glorified disaster flick with very poor CG animation.

Media science has evolved a new method of historical analysis - brute force belief through re-enactment. The endless reels of tiresome recreations leave little time for the scientific facts and any form of historical method. But of course ratings are the key, and if that means objectivity is left in the green room, so be it!!

As for the actual debate itself, since the programme was filmed in the summer of last year, no new evidence was elucidated. The tenacious arguments touched upon from Bryant and Hasletts' academic paper did little to further the argument for a Killer Wave. While the first-hand evidence from the 1981 flood demonstrated how devastating a storm surge can actually be, and quite possibly the only potential tsunami invoking cause - a landslide off the continental shelf - was quickly rejected.

This debate has really been discussed enough previously and elsewhere. Storm surge, tidal bore or tsunami? The debate continues. But exploiting the current climate with claims of Killer Waves, the recreation of a 12m wall of water and even the reworking of historical sources to create drama does little to futher our understanding of the past. IMHO, it is destructive to the continued preservation of historical method - especially when such brute force propaganda appears to be so hartily adopted by the academics. Disheartening? :(

Posted on Monday, Apr 04, 2005 at 02:32:11.

Comments on Timewatch Kills the Wave (1)

α comment

I could'nt agree more! As no one has taken up the theme any further, a couple of thoughts have come to my mind:- 1. I believe, but do not have the accounts to hand, no doubt you do, that the timing of the flood surge was recorded first in the Minehead area and was some time before it reached Bristol. This report alone indicates that the tidal flood appeared at differing times up the channel, as in the point of the high tide. This demonstrates against a tidal wave travelling against hundreds of mph. 2. The flood region showed on the timewatch program appeared to cease its inland flow at Gloucester. The commentators seemed to be unaware that the bore tide of the river Severn, before the building of the weirs at Gloucester reached upstream as far as Worcester. This would appear to be fairly conclusive evidence against a tsunami tidal wave, which I presume would continue its inland journey until high land and friction would eventually halt its progress. This progress would surely be far upriver to Worcester and beyond and throughout the catchments of several tributaries. These are fairly unthought through comments but I am forced to comment on the basis of my common sense thoughts. Donny

Posted by donny
Tuesday, Apr 05, 2005 at 19:23:59

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