Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Saturday, January 30, 2016

How Much Will It Cost to Melt a Snowfall?

Let's take New York as an example.

The land area of New York City is 790 km2. It is 30% roads. Fluffy snow is approximately 10% of the density of water. The recent snowfall was 26.8 in. It takes 333.55 J/g to melt snow. Putting this all together, we need a little over \(5\times10^{15}\) J of energy to melt all the snow on the streets of New York City.

At a price of 27¢ per kilowatt-hour (“New York values” are a matter of overpaying for everything), that would cost $400 million (more than the usual budget) and the winter isn't over yet.

But wait, there's more. That amount of energy would be a little over a megaton. In other words, we would be nuking the snow.

On the other hand, maybe I skipped a decimal point somewhere.


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