Postcards from The Field

Ok Everyone Thats A Wrap After 207 Days In

Ok, everyone, that’s a wrap!

After 207 days in the field, 254 flights, and data collected at 45 terrestrial sites and 24 aquatic sites, the National Ecological Observatory Network’s Airborne Observation Platform’s “peak greenness” flight campaign is coming to a close for 2017.

From the northern-most point on the Alaska coast to the Florida peninsula and everything in between, two flight crews collected remote sensing data while dodging hurricanes, witnessing the midnight sun, and taking in some of the nation’s most spectacular landscapes. Propellers failed and rodents chewed through ground cables, but the airborne operations team worked tirelessly across the continent throughout our busiest season to date!

Many airborne data products are already processed and available, with more being published all the time. Airborne data is free to request and use:

In addition to the network of NEON sites flown each year, we are excited to announce that the AOP Assignable Asset is about to come online, available for principal investigator research starting in 2018.  For more information, visit

Many thanks to NEON’s AOP team, domain contacts, science collaborators, and the numerous staff from various park agencies, non-profits, universities, and airports that helped make this all possible.

We look forward to working with you as we soar into next field season!

-Heather Rogers, Flight Operations, Airborne Observation Platform (AOP) for the NEON project, operated by Battelle.

Ironing Out The Arctic Carbon Cycle To

Ironing out the arctic carbon cycle!

To understand the role of iron in the arctic carbon cycle, the Cory Lab did extensive sampling of iron rich surface waters in the Alaskan Arctic.  Acidic, iron rich seeps draining from the Brooks Range bring reduced iron downstream into river valleys.  In rivers most of the iron is oxidized and precipitates out as iron (oxy)hydroxides.  Iron (oxy)hydroxides give the river and surrounding rocks and soils the orange- red color seen in the picture.  During storm events the precipitated iron is transported downstream out of the valleys onto the Arctic Plains, where the iron is reduced again by microbes.  Upon reoxidation, the reduced iron in the arctic soils and soil waters produces reactive oxygen species that might be important in oxidizing organic carbon present in arctic soils and soil waters.  

- Adrianna Trusiak, University of Michigan

Views Of The Collapsing Osjollo Anante Icecap In

Views of the collapsing, Osjollo Anante Icecap, in the foreground and the Quelccaya Ice Cap in the background. The final day of an undergraduate study abroad hosted by Appalachian State University. Students climb to elevations over 17,000 ft to learn about glacier-climate interactions in the tropics.

- Courtney Cooper

A Sub Sampling The Alkaline Fluids Of The

A sub sampling the alkaline fluids of the Arnarnesstrytun shallow-water vent, Iceland.

We’re in the field for a 10 days long diving expedition to explore the geochemistry and microbiology if shallow-water alkaline hydrothermal vents in the north of Iceland. The area, known as the Strytan vent field, is composed of several chimneys, with the main chimney standing 54 meters tall from the seafloor. The 75°C hot alkaline fluids (~10 pH) mix with the cold (8°C) fjord waters, creating strong thermal and geochemical gradients that support microbial communities.

The team is composed by an international group of geoscientist that includes United States, Italian and Japanese researchers with diverse backgrounds.

You can follow the updates on Twitter with the #StrytanExpedition hashtag.

- Donato Giovanelli

Viewing The Eclipse From Douglas Wy My Brother

Viewing the eclipse from Douglas, WY.

My brother took this picture during totality, showing a large prominence on the upper right limb.

What an amazing sight!  I hope you got a chance to experience totality!

-Christina Cohen

Outreach While Exploring The Rockies An

Outreach while exploring the rockies -  An impromptu outreach event happened at the mushroom rock formation in the Rocky Mountain National Park at an altitude of ~12,000 ft. Solar scientists talked to fellow park-goers about the upcoming Eclipse (Aug 21) and told them all about how to safely use the Eclipse glasses. We are students from different universities around the world that attended the UCAR Heliophysics Summer School in Boulder, CO. They and some more people got to see the solar disk with the eclipse glasses that we carry with us wherever we go! Picture taken and submitted by Aparna V (Georgia State University). In the picture from left are Camilla Harris (University of Michigan), Mariangela Viviani (not seen) (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research), Saida Castillo (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) and Lee Gunderson (Princeton University).  Date: Aug 6, 2017
Howdy Were On The Island Of Galveston Tx


We’re on the island of Galveston, TX right now studying summer convection with cool new phased-array radar technology. We were the lucky early morning crew to take DOW8 out to capture the rapid growth of this towering cumulus cloud. Our radar scans a six-beam volume in 7 seconds, which is insanely fast!

Did anyone remember the donuts?

Courtney Schumacher (NSF Atmospheric Science in the Gulf Coast Region REU at Texas A&M University)

Hej Hej A Swedish Greetings Were Out Here

Hej hej! (A Swedish greetings), 

We’re out here in Stordalen mire, a peatland underlain by discontinuous permafrost in the Swedish arctic!  Look at us basking in arctic rays and avoiding the plagues of mosquitos.Or not.  Here we’re processing cores taken in these peatland lakes to help understand how aquatic vegetation affect methane dynamics and how this might affect global carbon budgets with increasing permafrost thaw in these northern peatlands.  

Hejdå! (goodbye)

Best wishes and warm regards from the field,

-Christopher Horruitiner

As Part Of An Effort To Monitor The Earthquakes

As part of an effort to monitor the earthquakes triggered by reservoir loading, we installed two portable seismographs of the neighborhood of the La Romaine 3 reservoir in the Province of Quebec, Canada.  The La Romaine hydro-electric complex involves the construction of four dams by Hydro-Québec.  The digitizer is located in the black container and it is connected to three short period seismometers to the left.  The backdrop of the picture is the 95 m high La Romaine 3 dam (located at latitude 51.12 N; -63.42 W). The 38 km2 reservoir filled up very quickly following snow melt in early May 2017.  As of July 18th, 2017, only a few small reservoir-triggered earthquakes have been recorded. 

-  Maurice Lamontagne

Hello Agu Just Back From A Long Day In The

Hello AGU, Just back from a long day in the field. We’ve been running a seismic survey of Pretty Lake, Indiana for a summer research project to complement some continuing paleolimnologic analyses. The field crew managed to get the gear broken down and packed back into the trailers just as the sun was setting. Now it is time to go rehydrate. Wish you were here!

- Jeffery Stone