Thursday, June 13, 2013

Snowmelt is underway…

The snow is melting in Barrow and the hydrology team has been working hard to characterize the changes in the snow pack and patterns of inundation in the lead-up to runoff generation on the tundra. Water is flowing in the larger drainages around the Barrow Environmental Observatory. The troughs between polygons and the polygon centers themselves at the NGEE intensive monitoring site are full of standing water and slushy snow, with barely discernible runoff velocity. That is expected to change this weekend with higher temperatures.
Over the last two weeks Larry, Hiroki and Patrick (UAF) worked hard to make sure major runoff troughs were cleared of snow and snowpack “snow water equivalent “, SWE, data were collected in preparation for runoff. This week was a handoff of work duties to new research crews from LANL and UAF. Garrett, Lily and Marvin (LANL) began the week shoveling runoff troughs at sites A and B. Yesterday Garrett and Cathy (LANL) practiced using the flowmate velocity probe in low flow conditions in snow-banked troughs at sites A, B and C and collected water samples for isotope work.

We said goodbye to Hiroki (UAF) last night, but before he left he trained Marvin to perform the snow surveys. New student Andy (UAF) trained new student Lily (LANL) in the programing, installation and downloading of water level probes. Now we are ready to capture the runoff event once the temperature rises.
The site characterization team, John and Craig (LBNL) joined forces with Alex from UAF to take cores in the region of the proposed deep unfrozen saline layer. Yesterday they found the layer and last night the whole crew celebrated with a spicy taco dinner prepared by Garrett and Lily!