# Rate of Precipitation during Noah's Flood

How many inches per hour of global rainfall for 40 days and nights would it take to cover :

1. Mt Ararat

2. Mt Everest

You may ignore tidal considerations

Mt. Everest is roughly 36,000 feet above sea level, so how much rain would it take to cover it in 40 24-hour periods?

That’s 1500 fet per day, and at 12 inches per foot and 1440 minutes per day, that’s 12.5 inches per minute.

I sure hope they can swim.

John Allen Paulus gives this calculation in his book Innumeracy. I can’t recall the exact figures right now, but it was given in feet per hour (something like eight feet per hour), “…enough to sink an aircraft carrier…” noted Paulos.

And, to think my friends in college thought I had lost it when I calculated the volume of water required to one foot over present day Mt. Everest. I believe it was roughly 30 times the known volume of water in the air, oceans, lakes, streams, and underground water.

However, I have lost these calculations. But! I will perform them again! And then determin rate of rainfall. Actually, now that I think about it, I did take the volume of water and devide it by the amount of hours in 40 days. It was a rather high number. Since, when you think about it, you are almost doing the volume of water PER day. Almost.

I’ll shall see!!!

I have done some rough calculations to get us all started… but, I am going to have to figure out how we currently measure rainfall. Yes, we have inches per hour and feet per hour, but, that is only a height measurement. I need all 3 dimensions to be exact. I’ll look at that tomorrow, but, this is what I have right now:

volume of water on earth:
http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html

circumference of earth:

everest:

radius of earth plus everest: 4626.56
current volume of Earth planetoid: 413345707226.1828
volume 1 foot over everest: 414823360582.3245
volume of water required to fill between current Earth planetoid circumference to height of mt everest: 1477653356.1417 cubic miles
times current amount of water on earth (326,000,000 cubic miles): 4.5
hours in 40 days: 960
cubic miles of water every hour: 1539222.2459809375
cubic inches per cubic mile: 254358061056000
cubic inches per hour: 391513586021972751237.12

I found out I remembered what I calculated in college was wrong. Only 4.5 times the current known volume of wate ron earth. Not 30. However, I went to college some time ago and I think my current information gathering is more accurate. Any ways, as soon as we know what the actual feet/inches per hour rainfall equates to in volume, we can get it.

But, as you can see my the numbers, unless I goofed (which is possible), that is a LOT of water. Damn.

eb

But they’d be broiled alive before they drowned. As an exercise for the reader, compute the potential energy released from that much water stored at least a bunch of miles high falling to the earth.

Some creationist claim that there were no mountains before the flood, and that they grew during the flood, which would make things somewhat easier. Of course the Bible does not say that, and Noah didn’t seem surprised at landing on a mountain.

In fairness to the YECs, and there’s no real reason to be except for the mental exercise, the Bible doesn’t say that all or even most of the water came from rain.

I realise this doesn’t address the OP but it’s worth noting consideration the turn the thread has taken.

I think that divinding Everest’s height in inches by 40 days worth of hours would give us a close enough approximation for the rate of rainfall. There are a lot of variables, but they should be relatively insignificant. Besides, Everest is growing, and we don’t know how big it was at the time of the great flood. Currently it is 29,035 feet tall, meaning it would need to rain at 362.9375 inches per hour before the mountain was covered.
That said, to do it the long way (electronbee, I hope you don’t mind my using some of your work)…

radius of earth plus everest: 4626.56

current volume of Earth planetoid: 413345707226.1828
volume 1 foot over everest: 414823360582.3245
volume of water required to fill between current Earth planetoid circumference to height of mt everest: 1477653356.1417 cubic miles

Surface of Earth: 268344735 sq mi
Surface of water over Everest: 268983885 sq mi
Midpoint surface area (just because I’m lazy): 268664310 sq mi

Now, volume divided by surface area will be the depth, right? So…
(1477653356.1417 cubic miles / 268664310 sq mi) = 5.4999987015085851931728483027761 miles, or 348479.9 inches

We would need a steady rain of:
348479.9 inches over 960 hours, or 362.9998958333 inches per hour, which is close enough to the first approximation.

My physics is very rusty, but I would be interested in how much potential energy would be released, and what is the normal height of rain clouds, and what is the normal temperature of the water at that height.

And it seems fair to give the benefit of the doubt that ambient surface air temperature might be fairly cool, around 40 F or 5 C or whatever makes the calculations easy.

Perhaps some consideration of Hebrew cosmology should be made to understand why the authors of Genesis considered the Flood possible. Above the flat earth there was a dome, called the firmament, to which the stars were attached and within which the sun and moon moved about. Above the firmament are the waters mentioned in Genesis 1:2 (‘the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters’). This structure is also mentioned in Genesis 1:6-7. The firmament is perforated by ‘the floodgates of heaven’ (Genesis 7:11, 8:2). The Flood is caused by these floodgates being opened, and a rising-up of the waters beneath the earth (Genesis 1:6-7 and 7:11 again). This cosmology suggests that there is a very large amount of water available outside the firmament and beneath the Earth for use in the flood. In this cosmology, it is not hard to imagine how rainfall on the order of 800 cm/hour would be possible.

Unfortunately, the Hebrew mythology is not consistent with empirical observation. Creationists and flood catastrophists thus must resort to ‘vapor canopies’ and similar theories which are not really supported by a literal reading of the Bible (and I haven’t yet seen any flood theories that take the ‘springs of the great deep’ into account). So far, flood scenarios require that at least some of Genesis be considered figurative.

So once the ground was saturated and no place left for the water to flow down to, you’d be covered by 6 feet of water within 12 minutes. Has it ever rained that heavily on Earth even in a small area in recorded history?

I have the book right here at my desk.

Quoth Paulos:

A similar calculation was done by Ingersoll in Some Mistakes of Moses, IIRC.

I’d say it’s impossible. The most intense rains I’ve ever heard of are nowhere close. Here’s one intense rain:

http://au.encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761554737/Rain.html

I also have a memory of reading in Guiness of an incident where it rained about two inches in one minute, but I can’t seem to find any online reference to it, for what it’s worth.

Both of these are pretty damned impressive in my opinion, but neither comes even close to the rates being talked about here.

2" in one minute comes to 120" or 10 feet per hour, if it continued at that rate. So as far fetched as it is, the rate cited by Paulus of 15 feet per hour is only 50% more than that.

On Jennifer Beals, once.

What was she wearing?

If we were going to do a comparison calculation with Hebrew cosmology, what would the area of the flat earth be and what would be the tallest mountain that needed to be covered? I’m guessing that they had never heard of Everest.

Be aware that the Noah story in Genesis as we know it is actually two stories interwoven with each other.

One story (J) describes a flood of 40 days’ duration. This was described more or less as normal rain, except in large quantities.

The other story § describes a flood that took 150 to subside, in which the waters that were thought to be perpetually up above the air (above the “firmament”) were loosed and poured down until the whole earth was underwater. Mountaintops were not seen again until the 10th month after the beginning of the flood.

If I were going to have the mountaintops underwater, I’d definitely go with the second scenario.

That’s something else I am wondering, and, why are people comparing an aircraft carrier to Noah’s Ark? Are they to be of the supposed same size?

Any ways, being in the USN for a short time now, I know that ships are mostly water tight. Very few windows, if any, and, all carry a good amount if water in their ballast tanks. Also, keep in mind that the CVN’s (nuclear powered aircraft carriers) hold 5000 or so people, food, supplies, a bunch of airplanes, fuel, and munitions. Which is a lot to carry around. So, dump everything but food, people, neccesary suplies, and fuel. Empty the tanks some (if required) we still have some serious bouyancy here.

How much downward force, assuming terminal velocity of the rain, would be exterted on the flight deck of the carrier? I THINK the area of teh flight deck is like 4 acres or so.

Also, one last thought, could this downpour actually be a rain? Or, just a contant flow of water from clouds to ground?

eb