Monday, March 02, 2009

Cornfields & Polar Days

Last week was a big week!  I went to the fields and sampled storm runoff from till and no-till plots as well as the forested and mixed landuse sites. It was a rare solo trip because we're approaching the busy season near the end of the quarter at OSU and the undergraduates all have exams to study for and reports to turn in.  The cornfields were far muddier than the forested sites and I suspect filtering those samples might take a while. I had a fun time getting the truck up one of the valleys and stayed in 4wd most of the day. From Friday's storm it is evident that much carbon is lost from plowed landscapes..., but I really have no idea what to expect in terms of soil respiration.  It doesn't seem that much could be living and breathing in the cornfield or even the other plots right now.  Temperatures have dropped from 50 F to 10 F today and won't be much warmer tomorrow.  Carla and I will head back to the fields tomorrow to hook the Licor up at our plots and see what baseline respiration is...pretty soon those plots will move from near flatline to robust exhaling. 

At any rate, on Saturday I went to COSI the Columbus Center of Science and Industry with Rachel Hinz and we led a group of 30 8th grade girls in flubber explorations.  They modeled glacier flow. Flubber is a mesmerizing glue substance that flows viscously and  shares some properties with glaciers... although as the girls noticed, flubber doe not melt.  After this, I flew down the stairs to give a brief slide show of Antarctic travels to a group of 3 to 50 year olds... my slide show followed an explosion set off to draw listeners in... I have to say COSI knows how to draw a crowd.  I may have to begin all my talks with a loud clang and some smoke.