Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Temperatures, Not Hotels, Likely Alter Niagara Falls’ Mist

18.04.2006


What’s up with the mist?



When the Niagara Parks Commission posed that question back in 2004, the concern was that high-rise hotels on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls were contributing to the creation of more mist, obscuring the very view that millions of tourists flock there every year to see.

The suspicion was that new high-rise buildings were altering airflow patterns, contributing to a higher, thicker mist plume.


Consultants conducted wind tunnel experiments that seemed to confirm that mist levels were enhanced by the tall buildings around the falls, a report that circulated in the Canadian news media.

Now University at Buffalo geologists have determined that the high-rise hotels are probably not to blame.

"According to our findings, it is unlikely that the buildings at the falls enhance the mist," said Marcus Bursik, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences, who led the study with several students who were investigating the plume for their graduate-degree projects. "Rather, our data show that it’s air and water temperature that control the amount of mist.

"It turns out that the bigger the temperature difference between the air and the water, the higher and more substantial is the mist plume and the thicker is the mist at the Falls," he continued.

Bursik, a volcanologist who has studied atmospheric plumes at volcanoes, noted that plumes, regardless of their origin, have common features.

He was motivated to study the Niagara Falls plume back in 2002.

"I started wondering why the plume rose to different heights on different days," said Bursik, who often can see the plume from his building on the University at Buffalo’s North (Amherst) Campus about 20 miles away.

According to the data the UB researchers gathered, the plume is highest during times of the year when the water temperature is higher than the air temperature, which typically occurs during fall and winter.

Bursik explained that in late autumn, even when the air temperature can fall to about 40 or 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the water still remains quite warm, as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, conditions that are ideal for a large, high plume.

During the winter, he continued, the temperature of the water remains at 32 degrees Fahrenheit because it is constantly flowing, but the air temperature will plunge by twenty or thirty degrees or more.

"Those temperature differences create more mist flow and a higher plume," said Bursik.

The perception that there have been more misty days in recent years may just be related to temperature trends, he noted.

Using a portable weather station adapted for a backpack, a UB student measured windspeed at the falls to establish airflow and windflow patterns.

Calculations also were made using ambient atmospheric temperature and river-water temperature to make a prediction for the height of the mist plume.

Actual plume height then was measured on different days using the Skylon Tower as a reference point.

"The predicted and measured plume heights matched well, consistent with the notion that the plume is just higher and thicker when the temperature difference is bigger," said Bursik.

The researchers will present their findings at UB’s annual Environment and Society Institute Colloquium on April 21. Findings also were presented during the 36th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium held at UB last October.

The research was supported by seed funding from UB.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.

Ellen Goldbaum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

nachricht Ice stream draining Greenland Ice Sheet sensitive to changes over past 45,000 years
14.05.2018 | Oregon State University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>