Friday, August 26, 2016

Something New in Barrow

Another afternoon spent on the BEO (Barrow Environmental Observatory) to check on instrumentation at one location and to get a new tower up on the network at another. I've seen contractors working on the tower for most of the spring and summer and passed these signs frequently. I guess they don't want anyone messing around with their stuff.

This is the tower site. I believe the intent is to locate the actual data collection instrumentation on the tower itself and house all of the support equipment in the really nice prefab structure with the ramps. I'm told that this is the only site that they've ever installed that needed to be built up on piers. The raised structure is supposed to help minimize drifting as the snow can simply blow under the building.

I was tempted to climb the tower but there were all sorts of signs such as "hard hat zone", "authorized personnel only", etc. I, of course, always obey the signs. I'm told that the tower needs to be higher than the surrounding canopy but that easy here. The tallest vegetation in the area is maybe a foot and that's being generous. I'm not really sure what they will be measuring.

The support building has these nice ramps. Instead of the standard expanded metal or steel grate, this is covered with some sort of green material with embedded traction enhancing material. Given the challenge of walking out here over the tundra even with the plastic walkways, I don't think the ramps are for ADA access. Maybe to help install heavy equipment such as large battery banks in the support building.

The staff member for the project was provided with someone to help haul equipment from the road and I noticed that he carried a 12 gauge. I asked if there were recent bear sightings. He showed me some pictures of a large polar bear that was found washed up on the beach just a little ways from here. So they must be around. I guess I don't warrant a bear guard when I go wandering out on the BEO. Maybe it depends who has sufficient funding for such frills.

From this angle, the tower kind of looks like it's part of a prison. It's actually pretty fancy for an instrument tower. It has stairs and not simply a ladder tied to the side. Anyway, no problems at all getting the tower connected to the network. 

4 comments:

redlegsrides said...

Looks like a spiffy tower....do you all get high winds there?

RichardM said...

Not as high as many other locations. Usual peaks are around 30 mph and occasionally up to 45 mph.

SonjaM said...

The tower will certainly be used for wildlife watching. Not!

RichardM said...

Lot's of fox in the area I'm told. I didn't see any but did see evidence of them everywhere...