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2022 > 04

This spring Asa Research Station has installed new water pressure sensors at the SITES water monitoring locations and the streams in the surrounding catchment areas. By measuring the pressure in the water it is possible to calculate the water level and the discharge. This type of data has already been collected for many years in Asa, but these new sensors are capable of sending the data directly to an online server which gives researchers immediate access to data from the office. This makes it easy to track the effect of sudden events such as heavy rainfalls and periods where changes in water level are expected, for example in early spring when the snow melts or during drought periods.

Measuring location at one of the inlets to Lake Feresjön. Photo by Niels Jakobsen

In March, the Skogaryd Research Catchment (SRC) welcomed about 50 high school students and their teachers from the Erasmus project “Global heat”. This project is an international exchange between Birger Sjöberggymnasiet Vänersborg (Sweden), Heilig Hartinstituut Heverlee (Belgium), Liceo Scientifico Cannizzaro Palermo (Italy) and the Bundesrealgymnasium Schwaz (Austria).

Erasmus student from across europe gather at Skogaryd Research Catchment to learn about Swedish forests and forest soil. Photo by: Leif Klemedtsson


During their visit, the students tested several methods for studying ecosystem processes and focused on three topics:

1) How much forest is there?
Students measured the diameter and height of trees to estimate the total forest biomass by using tree biomass via allometric functions. Knowing the tree biomass in a forest is of interest for forest management planning, but also for reporting greenhouse gas emissions since the tree biomass accounts for a large amount of carbon storage.
 
2) How much do soils respire?
Soils emit large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere, which is known as soil respiration. The most common way to measure soil respiration in the field is via manual chambers. The students could test the system used at SRC, which measures the concentration of CO2 directly in the field, via an ultraportable greenhouse gas analyser. The change in CO2 concentrations in the chambers during deployment represents the CO2 flux.

3)    What does the soil in a Swedish forest look like?
The students dug a soil profile to study a typical Swedish forest soil. To start with, students described the structure, or soil layers, focusing on the questions: what colour are the soil layers, and how thick are they? This leads to discussions about which processes are important for the formation and development of the soil. Students also measured the soil pH and learned that most Swedish forest soils are acidic. The soil studied was a Podzol, which is the most common forest soil in Sweden.

Researchers demonstrate how chambers are used to measure soil respiration. Photo by: Leif Klemedtsson

On April 11th, the vice chancellor of SLU and her leading council visited the field station at Röbäcksdalen. The purpose of the visit was to learn more about the infrastructure, but also to sign a collaboration agreement between SLU and Umeå municipality. Röbäcksdalen SITES manager Johanna Wallsten talked about the SITES activities in the region, and Charlotta Erefur from Svartberget presented some of their activities, and talked about collaborations between the two SITES stations.  In addition, researchers at SLU in Umeå demonstrated some of the spectral equipment at the station.

Johanna Wallsten and Charlotta Erefur present the SITES activities at Röbäcksdalen and Svartberget. Photo: Olof Bergvall.

The collaboration agreement states the intention by the two parties to collaborate more within certain development areas. The research station at Röbäcksdalen is specifically highlighted in the section about Umeå as a sustainable city. The station is located within the city and is already a green oasis for local residents. The research performed, the association to SITES, and the location makes Röbäcksdalen research station a good focal point for the city’s work around ecosystem services and biodiversity.

SLU vice chancellor Maria Knutson Wedel and Chair of Umeå municipality board Hans Lindberg sign the collaboration agreement at SITES Röbäcksdalen. Photo: Fredrik Larsson

The central data coordination team has scheduled several data-focused meetings with individual stations to facilitate uploads to the SITES Data Portal during the off-season when field sampling is less time demanding for the station staff. 

Currently, the SITES secretariat and staff from Erken Laboratory are processing data from complex lake profile measurements collected using YSI sonde technology which will be uploaded soon. Follow-up data meetings are scheduled with Svartberget and Skogaryd, so more data will be available for download in the coming weeks. 

Open access to data produced within the long-term monitoring programs can be found on the SITES Data Portal

Keep yourself updated! 

Malma Island located in Lake Erken during the early spring. The island is equiped with high frequency sensors which measure meteorological and micrometeorological paramaters as well as lake water balance and thermal stratification. Photo by: Roberto Lo Monaco

The snow cover around Tarfala Research Station has changed dramatically as a result of a period with a high rate of cyclonic activity. About a meter of snow has accumulated in the area around the station recently, and while this accumulation is good news for the glaciers it makes travel and measurements more difficult. After a storm, it takes several days for the snow to settle, making ground transportation possible and reducing the threat of avalanches. Late snowstorms also make mass balance studies difficult to perform properly. If a snowstorm in April adds 10% to the snow cover after a snow accumulation survey it may add errors in the measurements. The staff at Tarfala Research Station are now preparing for the planned mass balance surveys and hopes that the low-pressure systems will avoid them for the rest of the spring. Tarfala Research Station opened Monday, March 28th, and will close the 2022 spring season on May 2nd.

Tarfala Research Station on April 7th, 2022. Photo by Per Holmlund.
Tarfala Research Station on April 7th, 2022. Photo by Per Holmlund.

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