|165 cfs flowing at Vanda gauging station.|
If I haven't described what a flowtracker is yet, and if you are just dying to find out, I will explain. The flowtracker is what we use to get an accurate manual measurement of the volumetric flow rate (volume of water passing a certain spot per unit time) of a stream. The flowtracker is an acoustic doppler velocimeter, which I am sure you all are very familiar with. Many times scientists, engineers, and others with poor social skills like to come up with big words to make what they are doing seem important or advanced, and this name is an example of that. This piece of technology sends out sound pulses that bounce off of particulates in the water (small sediment particles) and based on the return of the sound signal it can estimate the velocity of the water at that point. It uses the Doppler effect to measure the velocity. This is the same phenomenon that makes a train sound different when it is traveling towards than when it is travelling away from you. So, the instrument determines the velocity of the water at a specific point in the stream. We measure the velocity of the stream at 20 to 30 equally spaced points across the channel at a cross section that is perpendicular to the stream flow. The depth of our measurement is simply 40% of the depth of the stream at that point. For example if the stream is 1 ft deep at a point, we would measure the velocity at a depth of 0.4ft (see figure below).
We attempted to measure the flow at the upper reaches of the Onyx at the Lower Wright gauging station, but the stage of the river was too high to safely wade across.
|Stage was too high to safely wade across the river and gauge flow at Lower Wright Valley gauging station (beginning of Onyx River)|
Some weather rolled in last night and has been hanging around today. I don't think it has impacted the helo schedule too much yet, but it has really affected our streams. Von Guerard (the stream running by our home here at F6) turned off today, along with Harnish. It makes our lives a little easier when there isn't any flow present. However, Christa (one of my teammates) has a PhD project to work on that requires a decent amount of flow, so hopefully things turn back on for her sake.
|Some nasty looking clouds rolled in over Taylor Valley yesterday afternoon.|
I also have been getting some Christmas gifts this year which has been such an amazing surprise! I feel like a little kid when South Pole Santa (the helicopter pilot) hands you a package from back home. My mom and Annie sent packages, and I would feature them here if I hadn't already ate all of the contents of them. Thank you so much guys! My aunt Natalie sent me the card and zombonis featured below. These are little wind up zambonis driven by zombies that you assemble yourself. Mikey and I built one each and raced them. He had a little bit better craftsmanship, so his drives straight. I haven't won yet, but I am hoping for a Christmas miracle. Thanks so much Natalie!!!
To all my friends and family back home reading this, I miss you guys and wish I could spend the holidays eating bunches of cookies and drinking too much eggnog with you! Thanks for all the emails, phone calls, letters, and packages. It sure helps to make the holidays great even away from home. Another thing that really helps is that I am surrounded by such great friends down here!
|Goodies from Grandpa and Grandma Sudman!|