Jumat, 11 April 2008

Warm Rain

Does it sound different than cold rain? (See "Cold Rain," posted April 10.) I think we process it differently, so we hear it differently. But I think there is more science involved, or at least I would like to involve more science (maybe we should ignore that distinction for now). If you toss a slice of red pepper into a cold frying pan, what do you hear? Plop. If you toss a slice of red pepper into a really hot frying pan, what do you hear? Sizzle. Is it possible that something more subtle is going on with cold rain and warm rain? Does cold rain meeting cold soil have sufficiently different characteristics than warm rain meeting warm soil? Are those differences enough to alter the audible qualities of rain? Could the human ear, working together with the human brain, discern those differences? Is it fair, or possible, to isolate the human heart from all of this?

Let me get more specific. If you keep location, soil content, and moisture content of the soil consistent and only change the temperature of the rain and the temperature of the soil, are those changes enough to affect the sound? There is a lot to ponder. Does soil temperature affect soil structure? Does soil structure affect how water is absorbed? Does the process of absorption begin with impact? Is it the impact of rain on soil that I'm talking about when I talk about how the rain sounds? Can one correlate sound with impact? Does varying impact produce varying sound? I made up these questions, so I can make up my answers. They are all Yes. Except for the question about the human heart, which should seldom be isolated from anything, especially warm rain.

I wouldn't want my reputation for clear thinking staked on any of this. I just want to know how else, why else, could rain sound different on April 11 than it did on April 10?

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