Subnivean laboratory and met tower during construction of met tower in the winter of 1994.

Principal investigator: Dr. Mark W. Williams

Project Team

Funding Sources

Project Summary

A subnivean laboratory, 8'x8'x10', was constructed in the fall of 1993. The subnivean laboratory was emplaced 6' into the ground with 2' projecting above the ground surface, on the Niwot Ridge saddle about 150 meters west of the Tundra Lab. The subnivean laboratory has a 2.5'x2.5'x5' "Santa Claus" tower on top for access during the snow-covered season. The subnivean laboratory houses data loggers, tipping buckets, other equipment, and provides storage.

A meteorological tower was placed approx 10 meters SW of the subnivean laboratory. The met tower houses a full suite of instrumentation to measure energy fluxes over snow and tundra, including radiometers and turbulent flux instrumentation using the Aerodynamic Profile Method (APM). Snow melt amount and timing is measured using 2-1 m2 snow lysimeters that drain by gravity into dedicated tipping buckets located in the subnivean laboratory. The two snow lysimeters have now been complemented by an additional 16 lysimeters, each 0.2 m2 in area, with funding from the US Forest Service in Fort Collins and an NSF grant to M. Williams. Currently we have three complete years of energy flux measurements over the snow, from 1994 through 1996.

Don Cline was instrumental in construction of the subnivean laboratory, placing the subnivean laboratory in its underground hole (Don held up each of the pre-fabricated walls by himself while the rest of us feverishly bolted the walls together), and deploying the meteorlogical equipment.

Maintenance on the radiometers during the winter season.