3 February, 2002
Snow machines roaring across the tundra but then stopping abruptly and falling to a dead silent. Jumping off the snow machines, we stopped and retrieved one Hobo. Back on the snow machines and zooming close to a tree we stopped and retrieved another Hobo. Back on the snow machine once again, stopping but this time yanking on snow shoes. Across a river, pushing through shrubs we gathered one Hobo, through denser shrubs and AHH we have retrieved the last Hobo. OK, now back to the snow machines. "Do we have all of the Hobos?" No, not yet....On the snow machines, across the tundra and two more stops we retrieve all of the cold, desolate Hobos. We have accomplished the task of saving all of the Hobos that were strapped to the cold stakes. We take the cold Hobos on the snow machines safely back to camp.
So by now you have to wander why we are gathering Hobos admist the frozen tundra? Hobos are not long haired, bearded, scruffy men sitting by the train station. Instead, Hobos are tiny data recorders that are strapped inside of a glass jar attached to a metal stake. They are able to be left for months at a time unattended and unchecked. The entire time they are recording temperature readings. A thermister is placed at the base of the stake, near the ground. This way the temperature of the snow is recorded daily for long periods of time. Air temperature is also recorded . The Hobos are placed at different locations near different vegetation types so a relationship can be generated between temperature and vegetation type. The Hobos are able to record 1800 measurements! That's quite amazing. These measurements can be later transferred to a computer. At one time the computer program was even called a boxcar!
The origination of the Hobo instruments are even more amazing. They were first used when shipping frozen fish. A Hobo was placed inside the box and it recorded the temperature inside the box during its travels. This way when the fish arrived to its intended location, the receiver was able to determine if the fish had maintained a low temperature. Hence, the name Hobo because of its many travels!!!
Now Hobos travel everywhere recording scientific measurements!
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