Miami residents no longer have to wait to see if their latest home improvements can withstand a hurricane that blows ashore.
Florida International University researchers have built a 12-fan simulation that can produce a category 5 hurricane’s sustained 150 mph blasts of air. The fans’ combined 8,400 horsepower can test models for hurricane-proofing even large-scale structures, and water sprayers help simulate the penetration of high-speed horizontal wind-driven rain.
FIU says the simulation, called the Wall of Wind, is the largest and most powerful university research facility of its kind.
Top Image: External view of the FIU Wall of Wind. Courtesy Florida International University.
Did you know that airplane jet engines can lose power and suffer damage when they ingest ice crystals suspended in clouds? Or that icing formation inside turbine engines has never been demonstrated in a full-scale test?
Fear not, because NASA aeronautics researchers are now on it. For the first time ever, this month they are investigating ice crystal accretion inside a test engine at the agency’s Glenn Research Center.
University of Washington atmospheric scientists are paddling in to the citizen science crowdsourcing wave.
They’ve released a free Android app called pressureNET for tablets and smartphones to collect and map barometric pressure data around the world. They hope to improve short-term, local weather forecasting with the flood of new readings.
PressureNET, now installed on more than 10,000 devices, makes use of pressure sensors built into a growing number of smartphones and tablets. The newest version of the app provides a lives stream of data to scientists and forecasters.
"With this approach we could potentially have tens or hundreds of thousands of additional surface pressure observations, which could significantly improve short-term weather forecasts," says Cliff Mass, a UW atmospheric sciences professor.