The University of Miami's newest toy is either the world's largest and most extreme hurricane simulator or a fish tank designed to murder the fish. To get a water and windier look at that atomic bomb of subtropical weather phenomona, the catastrophic Category 5 hurricane, UM has just unveiled "the world's largest 3D experiment to study the impacts of hurricanes and other coastal weather events." Called SUSTAIN (short for Surge Structure Atmospheric Interaction) it's a big glass box, or tank with a lid, that's able to cause all sorts of havoc within a 38,000-gallon, 23 meter long, six meters wide, and two meter high rectangular volume.
SUSTAIN will now study the way wind and waves interact in the belly of those beasts whose names (Andrew, Donna, Sandy) live on in infamy. It will do this with paddles, a ventilation fan, and the unluckiest little green Monopoly house ever made. Located at the UM Rosenstiel School on Virginia Key, the New Times has a video of the this hurricane in a humidor that's well worth checking out.
· Watch a cat 5 hurricane in UM's new simulation tank [New Times]
· About SUSTAIN [UM SUSTAIN]