Road of winds to be rid of snow
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Road of winds to be rid of snow

February 26, 2021

The project to improve the passability of the Norilsk - Alykel (airport) highway in the winter season is gaining momentum.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. In February, scientists from the Siberian Federal University continued their practical studies of the snow drifts dynamics on the Norilsk – Alykel airport highway, within the framework of the Wind Road project. Its goal is to develop snow protection structures that will allow it to be exploited even during heavy snowstorms.

In the 1940s, engineer Mikhail Potapov was working on the problem of snow drifting in Norilsk. Thanks to his ingeniously simple designs, the railway tracks and roads were much less covered with snow, which then had to be cleaned off by hand. Over the decades, many of the shields have already gone out of service. New tools for computer and experimental modeling have appeared. In addition, the climate on Taimyr is changing. To take into account the new realities, in order to solve the old problem, the Wind Road SFU’s project of the is called upon.

The specialists continue revising Potapov’s shields

A few days ago, the scientific group visited Norilsk to conduct field research.

“We continue to revise Potapov’s shields. There are 39 of them, the total length is more than 14 kilometers”, said the project manager, head of the Siberian Federal University department for comprehensive study of the Arctic Yuri Zakharinsky. “We identified a test area where the shields are in satisfactory condition. We evaluate its functionality – the volume of trapped snow, the dynamics of snow accumulation. The obtained data will be used to verify the results of computer modeling.”

The obtained data will be used to verify the results of computer modeling

“In order to understand from which parts of the tundra the bulk of the snow is carried by the wind onto the road”, explains Ruslan Sharafutdinov, director of the Siberian Federal University Institute of Ecology and Geography. “We’ve offered an original technique based on the use of marker particles – microscopic Sorer glass balls painted in different colors… This will allow us to focus on the most problematic sections of the road”.

Snow protection of the Norilsk – Alykel road is necessary. It often happens that the airport is open, and the only way to it is closed. It is expected that the result of the research work will help residents to get to the airport with less difficulty.

Text: Ekaterina Maksimova, Photo: provided by SFU

February 26, 2021

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