The Stream Team has had a busy, fun-filled week. The hi-light so far was Friday’s trip to Miers Valley. We collected water samples and measured discharge on Adams Glacier Stream, Miers Glacer Stream, and Miers Outlet Stream. I also deployed several data loggers to measure specific conductance, temperature, and water height in Miers Outlet Stream, and Miers Glacer Stream.
While we were working at the Adams Glacier Stream gage, we noticed an abrupt change in discharge. Over a period of several minutes, the amount of water flowing through the stream increased threefold. In temperate, non-glaciated, watersheds, large changes in discharge are usually associated with rain events. As more water is put into the system (rain on watershed), more water comes out of the system (streamflow), right? Well, in glacially dominated catchments, large changes in discharge occur on a daily basis without any rainfall at all! As the sun is shining directly on the face of a glacier – a maximum amount of runoff (melt water) is being generated. When the sun is not directly shining on the face of a glacier – a lesser amount of runoff is being generated. This daily variation in solar intensity on glaciers results in daily flood events, which can clearly be seen on streamflow hydrographs. A hydrograph is a record of stream discharge over a period of time. check out the hydrograph at Green Creek to see what I’m talking about… http://www.mcmlter.org/queries/hydro_graph.jsp?begDate=10/01/2009&endDate=04/01/2010&hydroStation=GREEN
Today, the Stream Team is traveling to the Wright Valley to study the Onyx River – a personal favorite. Unfortunately, we are leaving F6 just before a group of congressmen arrive on a tour of the Dry Valleys. Hope they like what they see…
If you don’t care for my verbal vomit above, maybe you’ll enjoy these photos…