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15.

ON THE ACTION OF RAIN TO CALM THE
[From, the Fourteenth

SEA.

Proceedings of the Literary and Session 1874-5.] Philosophical Society of Manchester."

Volume of

the

"

(Head January

12,

1875.)

THERE
to

calm the

appears to be a very general belief amongst sailors that rain tends sea, or as I have often heard it expressed, that rain soon knocks

down the

sea.

Without attaching very much weight to
object in this paper is to point out

this general

impression,^

my

on falling into water which I believe has not been hitherto noticed, and which would certainly tend to destroy any wave motion there might be in the water.

an

effect of rain

a drop of rain falls on to water the splash or rebound is visible enough, as are also the waves which diverge from the point of contact but the effect caused by the drop under the surface is not apparent, because the water being all of the same colour there is to show the inter-

When

;

nothing change of place which may be going on. There is however a very considerable effect produced. If instead of a drop of rain we let fall a drop
of coloured water, or better
this
effect
still if we colour the topmost layer of the water, becomes apparent. We then see that each drop sends down one or more masses of coloured water in the form of vortex These rings. rings descend, with a gradually diminishing velocity and with increasing size, to a distance of several inches, generally as much as 18, below the

surface.

Each drop sends in general more than one ring, but the first ring much more definite and descends much quicker than those which follow

is
it.

they cause the water at the surface rapidly to change places with that at some distance below. The effect of a drop would be to knock some of the moving water into that which is . actual size of these rings depends on the size and speed of the drops.15] ON THE ACTION OF RAIN TO CALM THE SEA. The drop merely forces itself down under the surface. drop which causes it. which is to be supposed at rest. which. Thus besides the splash and surface Such a transposition of water from one place to another must tend to destroy wave motion. or even more. but in descending carries down with it a mass of water. there is as the drops. this first ring for it appears to contain little of the water of the very The hardly apparent. so to speak. and before they stop they have generally attained a diameter of from 1 to 2 inches. adjacent to the surface and a few inches thick. This may be seen as follows. when the ring is 1 inch in diameter. the shape of which is much the same as that which would be formed by winding string through and through a curtain ring until it was full. They steadily increase as they descend. it. would be an oblate spheroid having a larger axis of 2 inches and a lesser of about 1 inches. only which the drops produce. It is probable that the momentum of these rings corresponds very nearly with that of the drops before impact. annexed cut shows the effect which may be produced in a glass vessel. is 87 If the surface of the water be not coloured. are much motion immediately beneath the surface as above much larger and their motion is slower. effect. so that when rain is falling on to water. Imagine a layer of water. to be flowing in any direction over the lower water. For it is well known that the It is not that the vortex ring is merely the core of the mass of fluid which accompanies it.

[15 and a corresponding quantity of water would have to rise up into the moving layer. ON THE ACTION OF RAIN TO CALM THE SEA. so that the upper layer would lose its motion by comNow when the surface of water is municating it to the water below. the effect of rain-drops will be the same as in the case considered above. and this motion diminishes Therefore in this case. down into as surface. and thus destroy the waves. where it has no effect so far as the waves are concerned hence the rain would diminish the motion at the surface. which is essential to the continuance of the waves. the particles move backwards and forwards in a horizontal direction. namely. disturbed by waves. we proceed downwards from the the lower water. to convey the motion.88 at rest. . besides the vertical motion. which belongs to the water at the surface. .

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