Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Winter field work

Participating to the Snortex field campaign in Sodankylä, March 2010, sounded like a good idea: going to Lapland  in the best holiday season, for some skiing and photography! I had been here earlier for some LAI measurements, and in the next winter a helicopter had targeted the plots with cameras and other instruments. We got the first results published, but the problem was that it was difficult to hit the exact location of the plots. In addition, where deciduous trees exist winter LAI tends to be somewhat overestimated by summer measurements. So I volunteered to go there during the next winter campaign with my skis, find the plots with GPS and mark them with signs that could be seen to the air, and take hemispherical photos at the same time as the flights. 

In March weather here is usually nice, nights are cold but daytime weather should be really nice for skiing, sunny and a few minus degrees. That was the case when I arrived yesterday, but in the morning I didn’t believe the thermometer: -35°C! But the FMI website showed that it was true.

I’m not exactly afraid of cold, but already at -20°C most skiing competitions are cancelled, as breathing the cold air heavily can damage your lungs. The snow researchers laughed at the frost and left for their daily measurements, but I decided to wait for the sun to warm the air a bit before taking the skis. Embarrassing, but I’ll rather ski in the evening: dark is not a problem but cold is. At 9:30 the temperature had risen to -25°C, so I was out there too. And actually it wasn’t that bad, the Sun shone brightly all day and the snow just carried my weight on 250 cm skis. After a full day and some 15 km skiing, 28 plots had been marked and 7 photographed. Highlight of the day was certainly a 5 km ride back on a local guy’s car, who (after learning that I wasn’t a fox hunter) pitied me for having to ski such a long way…

X marks the right place

Twilight photography