Sunday, June 10, 2007

Snowbird in blowing snow

Today was forecasted to be clear and sunny with a high of -5 deg C. It was a beautiful morning, but it quickly degraded and has been snowing and windy all day. The Snowbird has been working well today. You can see a mini-snow drift around the snowbird.

Katrine Gorham (UC-Irvine) usually collects a whole air sample every 4 hours, but today with the high winds she is collecting samples every 2 hours. Every time she collects air, sh also measures the snow temperature (at 22:00 LT the snow was -15 deg C) and records the other meteorological variables (wind speed = 13 m/s, air temp = - 7 deg C, etc). This is the warmest temperature of the summer so far.

The Satellite camp has grown in the last week. We have neighbors from the University of Washington measuring isotopes of Nitrogen and Oxygen in snow and air. And a group from the Netherlands (in the black tent) that are looking at the Atmospheric Energy Budget above the snow. They are measuring the incoming solar radiation, the reflected solar, as well as the outgoing IR. The dutch scientists are also launching a weather balloon each day at 1200. This is really useful data for our work because it tells us the height of the mixed layer above the snow.

In this photo you can see the snow drift in front of the Bally building where Jack is measuring water soluble gases (nitric acid, nitrous acid, HOBr, etc.). He has two inlet, one just above (or in) the snow, and another about 1.5 m above the snow. By comparing the levels of trace gases from these two inlets, he can determine if the gases are coming out of (or depositing to) the snow pack.

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