Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Non-linear mathematical techniques could lead to better flood forecasting

31.08.2004


Although the world in which we live in is non-linear, or multi-dimensional, engineers and scientists have long used linear mathematical formulas to create models to predict physical phenomena such as the infiltration of water through soils or flooding.



But existing theories based on linear models do not accurately portray what actually occurs in nature, claims Temple University civil and environmental engineering professor Sergio Serrano, Ph.D.

In the September issue of the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, Serrano outlines new mathematical procedures, or techniques, to produce analytical solutions of the complex, non-linear equations of water flow in soils. These new techniques, says Serrano, will help with the development of more accurate and more efficient flood forecasting and contaminant propagation predictions.


In his study, "Modeling Infiltration with Approximate Solutions to Richard’s Equation," Serrano says that although a phenomenon such as water flow is non-linear, we try to solve it numerically, which linearizes the solution. "What we do is assume this phenomenon is linear and try to solve it using linear equations," he says. "For instance, we come up with a model that shows a contaminant plume in either soil or water that is perfectly symmetrical and doesn’t have any of the features that we observe in nature. But if you actually observe a plume in nature, it is not symmetrical and it has a long back-tail that traces back to the source of the contaminant.

"Now, by using these new mathematical methods or techniques, it allows us to consider the true non-linear attributes of this non-linear phenomenon," Serrano adds. "We now can develop a model that actually describes what is happening in nature."

Serrano says that linear equations have been used to solve these problems because they are simpler to do. "People think they are using non-linear equations when they use the computer and numerical techniques, but they have not solved the non-linear equation to explain the phenomenon; they have merely numerically linearized the situation," he says.

Serrano believes that using these new techniques to correctly solve these non-linear equations will help researchers create more accurate models, which will allow scientists and engineers to better remedy environmental problems and better predict flood waves.

"For example, if we assume that the equations that are currently being used to predict flooding are linear, then we will develop a model that predicts a flood downstream to occur at a certain time," explains Serrano. "In reality, we observe that the flood comes at a much earlier time. So what happened? The flood wave propagates in a true non-linear environment.

"We are beginning to explore the use of these non-linear techniques to understand the phenomenon of water flow and flooding, and we are seeing remarkable differences in what is actually happening in nature as opposed to what was predicted to happen under the current linear methods."

Preston M. Moretz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.temple.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>