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Forest-snow field campaign kicks off at the Sodankylä Arctic Research Center

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The SLF Snow Hydrology Research Group has arrived at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) in Sodankylä, Finland for their forest-snow field campaign.

 

After a year of uncertainty due to COVID-19, we were ecstatic to finally arrive in Sodankylä, Finland! Our international team consists of snow hydrologists from the SLF Snow Hydrology Research Group, the Department of Geosciences at University of Oslo (UiO), and the Mountain Hydrology Research Group at University of Washington (UW).

Our project, termed UpForSnow, was funded by an INTERACT proposal written by Giulia Mazzotti, Clare Webster and Johanna Malle to perform an intensive forest-snow field campaign during the snowmelt period at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) Arctic Research Center in Sodankylä, Finland.

 

INTERACT promotes scientific research on environmental change in the arctic, and our goal is to better understand how forest structure controls snowfall distribution and snowmelt patterns. We plan to do this by capturing forest structure and snow distribution at more, larger sites complemented by high resolution measurements of the spatial and temporal variability of snow depth and individual energy balance components.

Finland is an ideal location for this forest-snow work due to its extensive forest cover representation of the northern hemisphere boreal forest biome. In addition, FMI operates an excellent network of long-term meteorological stations and continuous snow measurements on site.

 

Our arrival in Sodankylä was not without effort. A large shipment of our field equipment left SLF weeks ago, so you can imagine how happy we were to see it arrive at FMI just before us. This neatly organized box contains everything we need to collect measurements under the forest, such as our motorized cable car platform to collect continuous measurements of solar and thermal radiation to the snow surface along a transect in the forest and micro meteorological stations to capture the spatial variability below canopy. Not pictured is Clare Webster’s shipment of multiple drones from UiO to capture forest structure information, and measure solar and thermal radiation over larger areas and in a higher frequency and spatial resolution than satellites.

The collected datasets that will enable us to develop and validate forest snow process modelling approaches. This research builds on methods from our first INTERACT TA campaign in 2019 and will complement our ongoing forest-snow field efforts in Switzerland. Testing new approaches across different forest types and climates is an important step to consolidate our methods for future application over larger scales.

Now that our team and our equipment has arrived, our first few days are tasked with establishing our study sites and setting up our equipment in this beautiful arctic boreal forest environment.

 

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