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Re: Wherefore turbinates?



Nicholas,
        The turbinates will either cool, or warm the inhaled air, depending on 
the
ambient teperature of that air, and also humidify it ( in mammals anyway) to
(or near) 100% humidity. This is due to the fact that the turbinates are
covered with a mucous membrane that is very vascular(hence the warming
affect). When the air is then exhaled, there is a water loss or deficit due to
that inspiratory process of humidification. This is the obvious reason we can
see our exhaled "breath" on a cold day. The warmer the air, the more humidity
it is capable of holding, therefore the importance of the turbinates in also
adjusting the temperature of the inhaled air to body temperature. Cold air
will not hold water vapor as well, and the colder the inhaled air, the more
water that will be required through the mucous membranes to humidify it. So on
those really cold days, you might see why your nose runs, its trying to add
all of the humidity to that inhaled air that it can, and the drier the air,
the more it will trigger the mucous production. However, I know of no way that
the turbinates reabsorb any water or humidity when they are in a healthy
state.
I hope that this has helped in some way.
Carl