13 June, 2001
A picture perfect day, blue sky, temperature in the 50s and no wind.
Life is settling into a daily routine. Up and breakfast at 7, out to the site by 8:30, work till about 12 noon, back to the NARL lab for lunch then back to the site till 3:30 or so, dinner at 5:30 and then lab work (journals, email, transferring data, etc) till bed time, around 11pm. In between those times one manages to get personal things like letters written (postcards are my style!), reading done and other things one has to do. Socializing is at dinner also when you are in the field you have to keep a positive attitude going too and it is fun to just talk to the team members.
We talk about the current project, the whys and wherefores of research over the years; we also talk about other projects that are going on here or other research, which tie in. Weve talked lots about science and how its done and about the people and institutions that have made a difference by providing funds supporting research and in most cases that is NSF. Then there is always talk about everyday things. Yesterday I found myself talking about my daughter and then my pets (2 dogs and 2 cats) and how much I missed them! So its not all science talk.
The site is looking more and more like its ready to go. The arctic fox that has been hanging around during the last week visited the site last night and let us know she was there. She didnt chew anything up however. Glen says the animals here will leave the wires alone as long as the food supply is plentiful. When food becomes scarce thats when researchers have trouble with the animals chewing wires. (all that vitamin PCV is a necessary dietary supplement!)
All the teams are getting up and running this week. In a few days we will coordinate running our first diurnal (24 hours measurements) with two other research teams. One team, from Cal State LA and University of Md., are constructing a track adjacent to our site. They are measuring reflectents (how much of the suns energy reaches earth and how much gets bounced back into the atmosphere). They are looking at the effects reflectents have on the physiological functions of the tundra plants. The other team, from U of Michigan, is studying and mapping the plant communities and putting together a vegetation map, among other things . All three teams have worked up here previously and know each others work. This year they will synchronize their diurnals, (data collection times) and see if they can validate each others data plus provide a bigger picture of what is happening in the tundra at different areas within the same time period. An example of this would be if I wanted to learn more about traffic patterns near my school. I could stand outside and monitor the vehicles passing by from 7AM to 3PM. The next day I could monitor the vehicles within a 4 squareblock area around the school and then I could do the same for the roads leading into the area for the same time period. However if I had many people doing this all on the same day I would get a clearer picture and control for external variables, which might skew the data. In this way more information could be collected and relationships on how one event might affect another might become evident.
The advantages behind coordinating the diurnals are twofold; one is to check each teams results against the others data and two, to provide a larger spaceal look at what is happening in different areas of the ecosystem under the same atmospheric conditions. Instead of getting a snapshot of Glens 20 by 40 plot we will be getting a larger picture which will include the wet area and the dry area of the coastal tundra along with and the ridge area.
This is the first time the three teams will be trying this so it will be interesting to see what comes of it. It is a more cooperative approach and since all are interested in many of the same processes, namely CO2 flux, it appears to be an efficient way to gather data.
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