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7 April, 2002

Why study the amount of light that penetrates the snow??? What is the importance???

Underneath the snowpack of Arctic Alaska is life. The snow in Arctic Alaska will eventually melt. The snow will reveal a tundra of tussocks and blooming flowers. Currently, beneath the layers of snow, Arctic summertime life is beginning to bloom and flourish. Scientific studies have shown that flowers begin to bloom underneath the snowpack. In the spring, while the snow still coats the ground,

the flowers are beginning to bloom. For this to happen, photosynthesis has to take place. Photosynthesis requires light. So, light must be penetrating through the snow and reaching the vegetation. The amount and type of snow that falls in a given year will affect the growth of the vegetation. If the type and amount of snow is changing in the Arctic, then the vegetation can be changing. The vegetation growth will also affect other biological activity occurring.

Light penetration also plays a role in the chemical sampling that we are conducting. The snow samples will be tested for chemicals that may have been deposited in the snow. Some of these chemicals may be photo-reactive. Photo- reactive means that the chemical makeup of the chemical may change over time when subjected to light. The light could actually change the chemistry of the substance. This can have long- term implications for substances being deposited in the Arctic.

SO WHERE IS MRS. CHEUVRONT??? LET'S PLOT!!! Latitude: 67.08589 degrees North

Longitude: 157.86005 degrees West

Camp was broken in the morning amidst the darkened, spruce, trees. We traveled on to measure one tundra site. The wind greeted us on the tundra as it often does, making us feel much colder. The trail marked with the tripod stakes took us closer and closer to the Brooks Range. We arrived in the tiny village of Ambler. It sits peacifully along the banks of the Kobuk river. The Brooks Range mountains looms behind Ambler. This village will be our last stop in civilization for at least two weeks. Tonight we will stay in the warm school, refreshed after clean showers. Tomorrow, we teach and then move on...

Temperature min: -16 degrees Celsius Temperature max: -2 degrees Celsius

Note that the temperatures I have been listing in this journal do not account for the wind-chill factor. When the wind blows, any warmer bodies, like ours, feel considerably colder. The wind often blows in the Arctic.


Use a wind-chill chart to determine the effective temperature for conditions of the above air temperatures and a wind speed of 5 m/s (meters per second). Note that, depending on the chart that you use, you may have to convert from derees C to F, and maybe m/s to miles/hour.

Also imagine, driving the snowmachine at a speed of 30 miles per hour at the same air temperatures.

The tripod trail marker. These trail markers have lead our path from Selawik to Ambler. Soon we will leave these trail markers and head into the Brooks Range.


Smile Matthew!

Smile Glen!

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