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Urban magnetic fields reveal clues about energy efficiency, pollution

Network magnetometry, smart data analysis combined to monitor health of cities

Date:
May 31, 2022
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
Researchers present a comparative analysis of urban magnetic fields between two U.S. cities: Berkeley, California, and the Brooklyn borough of New York City. They explore what kinds of information can be extracted using data from magnetic field sensors to understand the working of cities and provide insights that may be crucial for preventative studies.
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Examining a city's magnetic footprint can be used to monitor the health of those cities, including a possible early warning system for trouble with pollution and as a tool for optimizing energy conservation.

In Journal of Applied Physics, from AIP Publishing, researchers from the United States and Germany present a comparative analysis of urban magnetic fields between two U.S. cities: Berkeley, California, and the Brooklyn borough of New York City. They explore what kinds of information can be extracted using data from magnetic field sensors to understand the working of cities and provide insights that may be crucial for preventative studies.

Cities are well known for their extremely noisy characteristics and a fertile ground for learning about urban science. Magnetic field activity from various sources in the city can provide insight into what is going on during a 24-hour period.

"A city is viewed as a physical system akin to a distant astronomical object that can be studied using a variety of multispectral techniques," said Vincent Dumont, from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "In short, our project was inspired by our desire to apply what we learned practicing fundamental physics research to the study of cities."

To do this, researchers collected magnetic field data continuously during a four-week period, using synchronized measurements with a network of sensitive magnetometers. Data was processed and analyzed using modern data analysis techniques.

In their current work comparing two very different cities, Brooklyn and Berkeley, they discovered Berkeley reaches a near-zero magnetic field activity during the night, while Brooklyn's magnetic activity continues day and night.

"Again, not too surprisingly, we discovered that 'New York never sleeps,' or more seriously, there are indeed a number of magnetic signatures specific to each city," he said.

The researchers hope their network magnetometry and smart data analysis combination can become a valuable tool for multidisciplinary urban science.

"This work builds on our earlier experiments conducted around the city of Berkeley, in the San Francisco Bay Area," Dumont said. "We identified the dominant sources of magnetic signals -- which, not too surprisingly, turned out to be the trains of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, and learned to glean weaker signals from this dominant background."

"We hope this line of research will be picked up and further developed both by the members of our team as well as others, hopefully within cities around the world," he said.

In recent years, this approach to study cities via their noise via data from magnetic field sensors emerged and was pursued by the Center for Urban Science and Progress in New York.

Techniques using data from magnetic field sensors are particularly useful for fundamental physics research, such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory experiment for the detection of gravitational waves or the Global Network of Optical Magnetometers for Exotic Physical Searches collaboration for dark matter searches.


Story Source:

Materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. Dumont, T. A. Bowen, R. Roglans, G. Dobler, M. S. Sharma, A. Karpf, S. D. Bale, A. Wickenbrock, E. Zhivun, T. Kornack, J. S. Wurtele, D. Budker. Do cities have a unique magnetic pulse? Journal of Applied Physics, 2022; 131 (20): 204902 DOI: 10.1063/5.0088264

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Urban magnetic fields reveal clues about energy efficiency, pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2022. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220531111806.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2022, May 31). Urban magnetic fields reveal clues about energy efficiency, pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 15, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220531111806.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Urban magnetic fields reveal clues about energy efficiency, pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220531111806.htm (accessed April 15, 2024).

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