Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sodankylä field campaign 2007

There’s nothing very exciting going on at the moment here in Joensuu, just the daily business of working with future research articles. But as I should somehow contribute to this new-born blog, I thought I could write something about last summers NORSEN field measurement campaign in Sodankylä. Altogether I spent two four weeks periods up there in Lapland, starting in the middle of July and ending well in September. Many people would probably get really frustrated about spending such a long time 130 km away from the closest supermarket together with reindeers and mosquitoes, but I took it more as a vacation. I had long before looked for some nice hiking and fishing places to visit in the weekends, but unfortunately I had also set a goal of coming back with at least 70 sample plots data set, which turned out to require more work than expected...

The center of the campaign was Finnish meteorological institutes arctic research centre in Tähtelä, 7 km south of the center of Sodankylä, by the side of “river” Kitinen. Tähtelä is also an important remote sensing research center, so it was useful to make measurements in an area where a lot of data were already available. Typical days included searching for new, different plot locations and measurements of forest stand variables, canopy cover and LAI. Originally I had planned to measure three plots per day (if weather was fine), but soon it became clear that two was a more realistic aim, and finally I had to content myself with 68 plots. Huge thanks for Pekka, who came there for two weeks to help me with the measurements, otherwise the plot quantity would have been even smaller. Even though the days in the forest became often fairly long and the plentiful mosquito population was a real nuisance especially during the first weeks, I still liked to be there. It was easy remember the long winter full of office work, so it was better to enjoy the summer while it lasted!

To end with I’ll tell one special incident that happened somewhere out there, in an unusually distant place tens of kilometers away from the closest inhabited place. I was doing some standard canopy measurements when I heard something rustling somewhere behind me. I turned to look expecting to see a reindeer, but it was - a berry picker. Well, normally that would have been nothing special, but this one was from Thailand! That was a small surprise, as I knew that the Finnish berry refiners bring labour from Far East, but I from what I had heard they like to move around in big groups. However, this one was clearly on his own, and I had seen no signs of other people when coming there, so I was really amazed how he had got there. We had no common language so we just waved to each other, and continued with our own businesses, one picking lingonberries and the other measuring trees with some funny instruments, tape measures set all around. I think that he was even more amazed of me than I was of him! After a while I heard a van approaching, honking as it came closer, clearly giving signals to the lost one. And so the puzzle of a mysterious berry picker had its solution - the van was filled with others belonging to the same group, so the one I met only had his own ideas about the best berry sites.

1 comment:

Lauri said...

Images from the field campaign here.