Aware of the delicate role that weather plays in our flight plans, we awoke this morning to assess the conditions outside. With the skies clear, the prospects looked good for our second day aboard the chopper.
Today’s tasks included uploading data from five monitoring stations spread across the area. Each site we visited was distinguished only by one metal tripod, equipped with two small, white objects (a radiation shield and data logger). As you might expect, from a helicopter, these tripods occasionally proved difficult to spot. One of our jobs for the day involved making sure the sites were easily distinguishable for pilots and data collectors in the future.
Our primary obstacle in today’s duties involved the data loggers themselves; many of them had been damaged. Large animals including bear, moose, caribou, and fox have a history of scratching and chewing the tripods, shields, and loggers. Dr. Klene and her team have taken precautions to guard against such assaults by encasing wires in metal conduit, and anchoring tripods with rebar. As you can tell by the images below, even these steps failed to protect the equipment entirely.
What temperature data was recoverable was gathered onto Dr. Klene’s laptop. At each site, we made the necessary repairs to damaged equipment and repositioned some key pieces in attempt to better shelter them from future gnaws and knocks. Although several pieces of apparatus had been chewed on fiercely, the mosquitoes – which yesterday had been ‘chewing’ on us with abandon – were much more tame today. This was largely thanks to the high, windy locations of a few of the tripods.
After our return to Toolik, we headed to a CALM grid and flux plot located in walking distance from the station. With visibility high, the field provided an excellent view of the Brooks Range, as well as close-ups of local flora and fauna. The active layer monitoring we are conducting is but one of many research projects currently being conducted at Toolik. Evidence of scientists’ projects can be seen via the equipment arranged around the area.
Many researchers have been stationed at Toolik for the bulk of the summer, and several return year after year. Because of this, there exists a tight-knit social community amongst workers here, and every Saturday night concludes with a bonfire. We will have one more day of fieldwork at Toolik before driving back to Prudhoe tomorrow evening.
See you back in Deadhorse,
Temperature for Toolik Field Station
Convert degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius by the following equation: C = (5/9) x (F – 32)
High: 59 degrees F
Low: 38 degrees F
Precipitation: 0 cm
Convert centimeters to inches by the following equation: inches = centimeters x 0.3937
Sunrise: 4:48 AM
Sunset: 11:03 PM