Going Metric

For the more sophisticated in the Inkstain audience (either scientifically or geographically), I usually try to translate units from those we use here in America to their metric equivalents. But I realized I had no idea what the standard metric equivalent was for our quaint river flow metric – cubic feet per second. Malcolm to the rescue!

The current flow in the Rio Grande through Albuquerque is 3,600 cubic feet per second¬† (102 kilolitres per second). Now you metric folks know the ugly truth: our “rio” is not really very “grande” at all.


  1. But how many “football fields” per second is that? That’s how we ‘mericans really measure things.

  2. Not that it matters much, but I’ve never heard anyone using kilolitres as a unit of volume. It is always either litres (l), or its fractions (dl, cl, ml), or then cubic meters or its multiplies (including cm^3, which is (cm)^3, not cm^3).

    You should also check this:

    It says you actually have 101.940648 m^3/s which is quite a lot of more than 102 kl/s.

  3. Janne: kl, Ml and Gl are used quite frequently. It depends on the domain a bit, though. And a cubic metre is equal to a kilolitre, so John got the calculation correct (a litre is defined as a cubic decimetre).

  4. Thanks Malcolm, that was both informative (first part) and embarrassing (latter part; I was the obnoxious smart kid 30 years ago and that included handling units…).

    Anyway, Google is very handy with unit conversions as you see from the link.

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