Cities living with a strong chance of rain

phys.org | 3/12/2018 | Staff
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Heavy rain can overwhelm municipal infrastructure and lead to flooding that can threaten lives and property. The U.S. alone spends millions - and sometimes billions - of dollars per year on flood recovery, and more is spent around the world.

A Purdue University study led by Dev Niyogi, a professor of agronomy and earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences, with statistics and data science graduate student Jie Liu, shows that the heat, humidity and pollution encountered by storms over cities can increase rainfall significantly not only downwind, as previous studies have shown, but also over the city. That information can help those in new or expanding communities plan their infrastructure accordingly.

Evidence - State - Cities - Rainfall - Niyogi

"Reviewing all the quantifiable evidence that can be used, we can state unambiguously that cities affect rainfall," said Niyogi, whose findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. "There is more heating in a city, more moisture from human activities and pollution from aerosols that store energy and add them to a storm. What we get is both increased rainfall over the city and downwind."

Based on a statistical meta-analysis of 85 studies that quantified rainfall change over and around urban areas, Niyogi and Liu found that the heat, moisture, and pollution of a city increase rainfall 16 percent over the city and 18 percent downwind, but less than 5 percent to the left and right of the storms.

Finding - Meta-analysis - Techniques - Problem - Value

"This unequivocal finding using meta-analysis techniques for an age-old problem highlights the value of data science to better understand and solve real-world problems," Liu said.

Niyogi said tall buildings associated with cities push wind to the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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