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 Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>