personalized and local flood-risk data “on the go” with the FloodMap™ mobile
app. The app, developed by Atkins (Epsom, England) to help communicate flood
risk and help members of the public take action to mitigate effects, provides
information based on the user’s location. It offers an individual risk report
that can be shared through e-mail, according to an Atkins news release.
provides flood-plain managers, engineers, emergency responders, city planners,
and community officials with quick access to information in the field about map
numbers, quads, gages, and flood plains. (It also is a useful tool for
real-estate professionals and prospective home buyers because it provides
estimated flood-insurance costs based on home value for specific properties,
the news release says.) The app can be downloaded free from app stores.
Songbird provides early warning system for polluted waterways
birds have served as an early warning system for toxic conditions. And now,
bird eggs could offer early detection for contaminated waterways, according to
a Cardiff University (Wales) news release.
researchers examined Dipper eggs along urban rivers in South Wales to find that
they contained pollutants at levels, on average, more than four times greater
than in adjacent rural rivers. These levels are among the highest ever found in
songbirds, the news release says.
are thrush-size songbirds that feed directly on river insects. Chemical
analysis of pollutant residues in the bird eggs proved that they are good
indicators of river health, the news release says.
Some of the pollutants tested for, such as total PCBs and polybrominated
diphenyl ethers, are from past industrial activity, as well as flame retardants
in building and industrial and domestic products. The pollutants can persist in
the environment for long periods and are believed to contribute to hormonal
irregularities and abnormal development in fish, the news release says. The
study shows that substances can find their way into water and accumulate in
previous studies have shown Dippers to be pollutant indicators, this study is
the first comparing rural and urban rivers, explained study lead
Christy Morrissey of the
Cardiff University School of Biosciences, in the news release. A report on the
study, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (London) and Natural Environment Research
), was published in the
journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Sponge Park planned to soak up stormwater in New York
specifically designed to capture and retain stormwater will be built soon next
to the Gowanus Canal in New York.
of the 167-m2 (1800-ft2) Sponge Park™ will include excavation
of a roadway to 1.2 m (4 ft) deep and installation of a modular system of
concrete cells filled with engineered soil to store and filter stormwater
runoff. Native plants in the park will absorb, filter, and transpire water
through roots and leaves while phytoremediating toxins from runoff, according
to a New York City Department of Environmental Protection news release. A
3-m-wide (10-ft-wide) walkway above an overflow sand-filter area will provide
public access to the canal, the news release says.
was developed to provide public access to the canal and increase green space in
the local community while reducing runoff and improving water quality through
green infrastructure, the news release says.
approximately $1.5 million park was developed through the efforts of
dlandstudio (New York) and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy (New York). The
project to build the park will go out to bid this year, with construction
beginning in 2014.
Frequencies produce liquid drops of
liquid behave differently at different frequencies. Cornell University (Ithaca,
N.Y.) researchers have produced a photo album of more than 30 shapes that an
oscillated drop of water can take. This research provides insight into how
droplets behave, which could have applications in anything from microfluidics
to inkjet printing, according to a university news release.
study, which was reported in Physical Review E, researchers used a
high-speed, high-resolution camera to capture images of the oscillating
droplets and used an imaging platform called Omniview to look at them from
different angles. For the Omniview, droplets sit on top of a glass slide, and a
50-µm-square metal mesh acts like a window screen underneath. A light is shined
through mesh holes, and deflection of the drops’ surface refracts light, which
triggers the camera to capture a photo, the news release says.
The researchers mechanically oscillated the drops at various frequencies
and found that certain frequencies correspond to the shape of a drop of a
specific size. They created a detailed table of droplet shapes according to
frequency and compared results to previous theoretical predictions. They
observed that some droplets take on multiple shapes when vibrated with a single
driving frequency, the news release says.