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12 April, 2002

Answers from yesterday's MagnaProbe averages:

short Shrubs: 59.9454

stream channel: 77.4112

tall shrubs: 89.3446

tundra: 19.1158

trees: 114.03

What is the relationship between vegetation type and snow depth??

Looking at the GPS/MagnaProbe data, as the vegetation size increases, the snow depth increases. The vegetation traps the snow, preventing it from being blown away by the wind. The wind blows often on the tundra causing the snow to blow away and be deposited elsewhere. Adding taller and taller shrubs and/or trees to the arctic tundra causes more and more snow to be trapped. If we list the vegetation types above in terms of their heights (shortest to tallest), we get: tundra, short shrubs, tall shrubs, and trees. This progression directly corresponds to the increases in snow depths that we have measured during our traverse.

This snow acts as a warm blanket, insulating the ground. This warmth can cause further tall vegetation growth. There is some concern that the Arctic climate is gradually becoming warmer. If this is so, there will be a change in the vegetation. The vegetation will become taller. Traveling through the Brooks Range has brought us to new terrain. There is no longer large shrubs and trees. This is the Arctic where vegetation is few and limited. There are mostly only sparce, small shrubs.


Latitude: 68.48202 degrees North

Longitude:155.75247 degrees West

Ivotuk. We have arrived at Ivotuk, a small research cabin sitting at the edge of the Brooks Range Mountains. This cabin is very isolated; it exists hundreds of miles in any direction from human civilization. The research cabin is mainly used by groups of scientists in the summertime. Few venture to such a place in the winter. The cabin is small but pleasantly cozy, with a furnace, stove and bunkbeds. Our arrival at Ivotuk could not have been timed better. The winds picked up last night. We sit snug in the cabin today as a ground blizzard occurs outside. The winds are howling; shaking the doors and windows of the cabin. The outside world is in a white flurry. The winds are transporting the snow, depositing it in huge drifts around the cabin and the snowmachines. The mountains are faint on the horizon as the storm gushes by. There will be no scientific measurements collected today. We are grateful for the shelter of the Ivotuk cabin. The cabin appears as it has been dropped from the sky in the cold, harsh, Alaska, wilderness. Today will be used to catch up on data analysis and journal writing.

Temperature Max:

Temperature Min: -7 degrees Celsius

Matthew Sturm


P.O. Box 35170

Ft. Wainwright, AK 99703



The Ivotuk cabin during the ground blizzard. The winds are blowing up to 25 miles per hour.

The Ivotuk cabin. The fence is up to keep Grizzly bears out.

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