Reporter 409, 3 November 1997

Leeds team can stop flight of Inuits

A Leeds University team is helping to prevent the migration of Inuit Indians from their snow-bound homes to the cities with a revolutionary new house design. Research conducted in Canada revealed that Inuit Indians migrated to the cities due to the difficulties of dealing with snow-drifts around their homes.

A computer prediction model of snow-drifts has been designed by a team led by Stephen Mobbs, Professor of Atmospheric Dynamics, which improves the design of buildings in snow bound climates to reduce the amount of time spent clearing snow-drifts.

The new design incorporates the main body of the building sitting on a platform five metres above the ground allowing the snow to pass straight underneath the platform. The British Antarctic Survey commissioned the computer model because of the high cost of replacing buildings crushed by snow.

The first prototype of the new building design was tested at the Halley Station, which is on a 50km wide ice-flow in the Antarctic. Since the station was founded in 1956, four generations of buildings have been crushed by drifting snow.

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