Patrick (patrickwonders) wrote,

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The Sound of Thunder

Saturday evening, there was a thunderstorm here in Minneapolis. This was the first thunderstorm that I have ever experienced outside of Pennsylvania and New York.

It sounded really, really different here. In New York and Pennsylvania, the thunder rolls in a sort of Poisson-sounding curve... it gets louder and louder and then trails off with more distant rumbles along the way. In Minneapolis, it gets louder for a little bit and then levels off. Then, it gets about twice as loud and goes on and on and on and on at an even volume after that.

I suspect that the geography is the biggest factor. I suspect that in New York and Pennsylvania the hills and vales swallow up the sound and muffle it. I suspect that in New York and Pennsylvania, the hills and vales hold pockets of air at different humidities and densities and temperatures and that all of these interfaces serve to wear the sound out.

I suspect that in Minneapolis, the relative flatness doesn't eat the sound so fast. I suspect that the relative flatness doesn't result in such well-defined pockets of different air.

But, I wonder why Lake Ontario doesn't amount to a big, Minnesota-like, relatively-flat area. Is it too flat? Does the sound not reflect so much off the water? Were all of our thunderstorms in Rochester, New York over the land?

I wonder what other ways it sounds in other places.

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