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7 June, 2001


Patches of blue sky are barely visible and the clouds seem to be thinner today. It hasnít been too cold and the wind has barely been a factor. I was expecting to be cold all the time; the opposite has been true. The buildings are kept very warm and wearing two layers of clothes keeps me comfortable. Snow flurries occurred throughout the day while we were in the field.

Glen, Spring and I left early to walk the ìfootprintî for the entire site and gathered data from the area A ìfootprintí is the larger, surrounding area where the research site is located, which could effect the readings at the site. At the center of the footprint lies the eddy covalence tower. This is the tower that operates continually and records atmospheric data. To get a mental picture of this arrangement think of a bicycle wheel. The tower is at the center and radiating out from there are 7 transect lines, which can be pictured as the spokes of a wheel. (See the diagram below.)

Our job today was to walk each line from the tower out to 400 meters, recording snow coverage (covered or not covered with snow) at 10, 20 and 50 meter intervals. We will walk each of these 7 transect lines on a weekly basis through out the season recording exposure and then thaw depth. Remember from yesterdays journal I mentioned the active layer which thaws and the permafrost? As the summer progresses the active layer (surface down to 2 meters) will unfreeze and we have to keep a record of the depth of the freeze area

What we did today was establish a 0 point for this seasonís freeze/ thaw data. This took us all day. Notice the picture below with the orange flag in the foreground and the tower in the distance. This was taken at the 1800 transect line. If you think it was easy to do this you would be correct IF there was no snow on the ground! Half of the time we were plowing through foot to 16 inches of undisturbed snow, which means you step , sink down all the way, then pick your leg up and replant it in the next spot. I t was like exercising on a Stairmaster for the entire day! There are no wimps in the Arctic!!!

Placing anything into the frozen tundra is not possible, even these thin flag wires. Spring has to pre-drill holes in order to make sure the flag went under the surface.

The orange flag in the foreground has been placed at the 400 meter mark on the 180 degree transect. You can see the tower in the background. There are about 15 flags from this point to the tower but becausse of the distance and the unevenness of the tundra you can not see them .

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