May 18, 2012 We Have Flow!
We have been visiting the sites, continuing with the transects as we wait for real flow to start. Some of the sites are still completely covered in snow, while others are really starting to melt off. We are measuring snow depth where snow persists and thaw depth where the ground is bare. I am holding the probe used for these measurements in the photo below. The conditions are challenging right now because the snow is full of depth hoar and collapses below our feet even with snow shoes on, yet in most locations it is too deep to go without them. I am already thankful for the tall rubber boots as some of the tundra in the valley is quite saturated.
We finally have some water flow in one of our water tracks. We got to take our first water sample from flowing water yesterday.
As bare ground appears on our transect lines, we are using an instrument called a Delta T to measure moisture, temperature and conductivity in the soil. Soil conductivity is the ability of the soil water to conduct an electric current thus depends on the ion concentration. It is measured in millisiemens per meter. Much of the soil is too dry to get conductivity readings at this point, but we are getting temperature readings up to 10 degrees C.
Question to Ponder- Discussion
The device pictured in the QTP section from my 5/16/12 is a snow depth gauge. The fencing helps to more accurately catch the snow by decreasing the wind. Without shelter much of the snow would actually flow over the gauge instead of into it.