Thursday, July 21, 2016

"old school" hydrological models

During my Masters internship I'm looking at a lot of surface water models, setting up a "scoreboard" to assess what types "perform" best under different conditions (peak flood events, long droughts), for different latitudes and regions ... and this taking place at IRSTEA in Antony (near Paris), a research organization with an extremely long history of excellent numerical models, including these:

This morning a friend sent me a podcast (99percentinvisible clearly has roots in public radio) called America's Last Top Model which I listened to on the way to work, and which is perfectly awesome -- it introduces a scale physical model of the Mississippi River basin, an amazing effort for anyone into train models, Legos, or generally playing with water in dirt...

Note - the Mississippi Basin (besides being a fun spelling test for 3rd graders) is 1 250 000 miles² (yes, 1.25 million square miles) in area -- about 3 240 000 km². Even at a 1:2000 scale, this is a BIG undertaking, which is why I imagine photos don't really do it justice... this one's not bad:

Original caption says it all! (vert scale: 1:100, horiz: 1:2000)

The Army Corps of Engineers (CoE) project was motivated by the devastating floods of 1927, and construction finally started in the early 40s -- since the US ACoE was a bit tied up at that time, they used German and Italian POW labor from Rommel's N African campaign...

Some more links:
And this student project to open up access to the public:
Now I gotta get back to work.