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28.09.2016
How might the city rid itself of its high fog


What with its lake, proximity to mountains, plentiful greenery, attractive buildings and excellent transport links, residents of Zurich have got it all, though one problem for many is this high fog which hovers over the city for as many as 35 days a year. Cannot anything be done to get rid of it?
 
According to a recent article in the Tages-Anzeiger (TA) newspaper, in former times, trams on the Uetliberg route would indicate that it was bright and sunny up there, whereas a depressing high fog hung over the lower parts of the city. Actually, there is no guarantee of sunshine high up on the Uetliberg, with Meteo Swiss confirming that, in two thirds of cases, when fog is hanging over the city, it is on the Uetliberg, too; and that between October and February, for every one sunny day up there at 869 metres, there are six foggy ones.
 
In a tongue-in-cheek look at how this high fog problem might be solved, a journalist at the TA thought a special committee ought to be set up to look into it.
 
As the height of this fog is mostly between 1,000 and 1,500 metres, if the mountains were just a few hundred metres higher, the fog problem would go. So he thought building a huge wall around the city, not unlike the project Donald Trump has to keep Mexicans out of the USA, then the fog would not pervade Zurich at all.
Indeed, the reporter quoted a study from the Hochschule Rapperswil, which said that some 42 million cubic tons of excavated building waste was produced each year in Switzerland, so this might be used for the job, though he admitted 300 times this amount would be needed. Then there was the question of who would pay for it all. Mexico perhaps?
 
An alternative measure would be to use high velocity fans, such as those the fire brigade use when clearing smoke out of tunnels. Apparently the Fanergy XL63 made by the Rosenberg company can shift 213,000 cubic metres of smoke in an hour. “We would soon get used to the noise, just as we have with leaf blowers,” he wrote, as he added only 7,000 of them would be needed, though this would mean costs of CHF 1.2 billion. And where would all the fog be blown too? Through the Uetliberg Tunnel into the Knonaueramt, where locals are not so demanding? After all, it is they who take the full brunt of nine out of ten thunderstorms which head Zurich’s way
 
Of course, all the electricity used would mean the targeted “2000-Watt Society” could never be achieved. Mind you, 400,000 fog-weary disgruntled citizens of the city of Zurich could also be regarded as a burden on the environment, couldn't they?
 
 
 


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