Interview by Josh King with John Frank

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Interview by Josh King of John Frank on July 21, 2009

John:  My name is
John Frank, J O H N F R A N K, pretty simple uh, today is what, July
21,

Josh:  It is, yep.

John:  2009.

Josh:  Mm-hmm

John:  And uh,
officially I work for the uh, U.S. Forest Service uh, with the Rocky
Mountain Research Station but the research branch of the Forest Service and
we're based out of uh, Fort Collins,  

Josh:  Okay

John:  Colorado.  Do
you need the contact information for me at all?

Josh:  No, that's OK. 
Yep, and the site is the GLEES site.

John:  Yeah, this is, this is the
GLEES site uh, which stands for the Glacier Lakes Ecosystem Experiments
Site

Josh:  Okay, that's right

John:  Uhm, that's what the acronym stands
for.  

Josh:  Okay

John:  And it's uh, the site is uh, so we're on the
Medicine Bow National Forest.  Uh, this is a uh, just a set aside research
area but it's still an inholding of a National Forest, Medicine Bow and it
was uh, established probably in the mid 80's as a uh part of the uni, uhm,
state of Wyoming I think had a, uh, it's not the department of
environmental quality but something kinda like that.

Josh:  Okay

John: 
And they put in, uh, at the glacier lakes, which are at the end of the road
here by Brooklyn Lake 

Josh:  Okay

John:  [?] trail

Josh:  Lost Lake and
Telephone Lake

John:  Yeah, so the two glacier lakes there's some uh,
watershed kind of stuff that they put in there

Josh:  Okay

John:  flumes
to divert the, the flow coming in and out of the lakes

Josh:  Oh, really,
okay

John:  And stream chemistry they measure, if you walk the trail


Josh:  Huh

John:  you'll see the first flume which is right there


Josh:  Okay

John:  uhm, on the trail and it's the one out of, coming out
of, the flume coming out of East Glacier Lake.  But, that was State of
Wyoming, mid 80's and then, I, it was very short after that, a year or two,
the state cancelled the program and uhm, then they called, I think they
contacted the Forest Service and said, are you guys interested in taking up
the research

Josh:  Oh, okay, so that's how

John:  So, that's how the
Forest Service research branch out 

Josh:  Okay

John:  of Fort Collins
got involved up here

Josh:  Okay

John:   And the history of the area up
here has been uh, atmospheric deposition

Josh:  Okay

John:  So, it's not
just straight watershed, like, we're just, we're not quite interested just
in like how much quantity of water going through but the quality of the
water, 

Josh:  Okay

John:  how much are pollutants coming down with acid
rain

Josh:  Oh, okay

John:  and pollutants coming down with the dust. 
And, that's kinda, and so, what we do at the lakes is we actually measure
the water coming in, coming out, 

Josh:  Okay

John:  the water coming in
with the rain, the dust floating around and that's the history of, of GLEES
and that's been goin' on probably 20 years now.

Josh:  Oh, wow, you've got
quite a bit of 

John:  Yeah

Josh:  data

John:  Yeah, so not just
meteorology but also the water qual stuff and the atmospheric, well
pollutant kinda stuff.  Think of it as acid rain.  In fact, there's a one
of the acid rain sites that's just over the hill

Josh:  Yeah, we just, we,
over that way

John:  Yeah, just right in the trees

Josh:  Oh, okay

John:
 on the clearing and there's, my colleague's right now working over
there

Josh:  Oh, okay

John:  doing the site.  So, uhm, so that's GLEES,
it's been around for, uh, since the 80's.  We uh, maintain the site every
single Tuesday 

Josh:  Okay

John:  and that's because uh, primarily the
national networks which uh, which is uh, there's, there's about between a
hundred and two hundred, it depends on the type of measure that you're
making, sites that measure acid rain and, and 

Josh:  Okay

John:  such
across the country. 

Josh:  Okay

John:  and to synchronize all the data,
everybody has to 

Josh:  So it,

John:  does it on Tuesday

Josh:  At the
same

John:  Yeah, same, same day

Josh:  Okay, how, how

John:  So, like
our acid rain samples goes to Illinois, Champagne, Illinois and that's a, a
lot of those are EPA programs and they analyze it.

Josh:  Okay

John: 
Our, our dry pollutants uh, go to Florida.

Josh:  Okay

John:  And uh, so,
so, that's kinda the tradition.  So I've work, I've been here for 10 years
and pretty much, there's only been one Tuesday since I started that we did
not come up.

Josh:  Is that right

John:  And that was the blizzard of O,
2003 and all the roads out of Fort Collins were closed

Josh:  Okay

John: 
and I couldn't get out of my house.

Josh:  Okay

John:  And so, that's the
only time that I know of that the Forest Service hasn't been here on
Tuesday.  That's the history of GLEES.

Josh:  Okay

John:  And what you're
looking at now, what would advance to what I'm doing which is the Ameriflex
uh, site.  This was established in 99 so we're uh, all in November we'll
go on, have our 10 year anniversary of collecting data.  

Josh:  Oh,
okay

John:  So, uh, its kinda neat

David Reed:  Bring up a champagne
bottle.

John:  Yeah, oh we've, we opened the champagne when we got the
data all, but [?]anyway.  Uhm, so this experiment in the, is uhm, concerned
with measuring, uhm, let me think the best way to say it concisely and
clearly.  Uhm, the goal is to measure the exchange of uh, energy and gas
from the atmosphere to the forest

Josh:  Okay

John:  and more interesting
or specifically, is to, to see, for instance, like with carbon dioxide, how
much carbon dioxide uh, do, does the forest ecosystem pull out of the
atmosphere and

Josh:  Okay

John:  use for growing you know, woody mass
and [?]

Josh:  Right, okay

John:  and, and essentially this forest has
behaved at a carbon sink for several years.

Josh:  Okay

John:  And so, it
pulls more carbon out of 

Josh:  Okay

John:  the atmosphere than it
releases, through uh, soil respiration and

Josh:  Okay

John:  [?]
composition and that kind of stuff.  So, uh, we use a technique called
eddy-covariance and, and on top of the tower and that's what you see at
the, you'll, maybe you'll take some pictures of the claw

Josh:  Okay,
right, sure

John:  sticking up to the right, uhm, and

Josh:  That's
what's test the air

John:  Yeah, so it

Josh:  gathering the data

John: 
So the way, and, this technique doesn't just apply to carbon dioxide, it's
also viable for, for water

Josh:  Okay

John:  uhm, because you know, the
forest uh, releases water into the atmosphere 

Josh:  Right

John:  as you
get evapo-transpiration as the trees are

Joah:  Okay

John: 
photosynthesizing, as you know, it's a wet soil right now, that'll
evaporate out of the soil 

Josh:  Okay

John:  In the winter time, we'll
get sublimation off the snowpack, so there's all sorts of water

Josh: 
Right

John:  that leaves this ecosystem now.  Uh, it's kinda neat having
the, like I mentioned the GLEES watershed work we're doing up at the top
because that's part of the water balance and a 

Josh:  Oh, I see

John: 
lot of the water comes down with precipitation, most of it snowfall up
here.

Josh:  Yep

John:  A lot of it goes down uh, and leaves the streams
you know, and it'll go down to the Little Laramie River but uhm, a lot of
the water just goes up, up through water vapor, it uh

Josh:  How much,
yeah, what percentage? Do you know?

John:  Uh, probably 40 percent's a
good guess.

Josh:  Really

John:  Uhm, this site gets about a meter and a
half 

Josh:  Okay

John:  of precipitation a year.

Josh:  Okay

John: 
This fox tower's reporting about 60 to 70 centimeters of

Josh: 
Okay

John:  precipitation going up so, you know

David:  That, that's
melted precipitation, right

John:  Yeah, uh, it's vapor, so

David:  It's
a lot more snow

John:  Yeah, yeah, the snow depth will get more than a
meter and a half

Josh:  Okay

John:  that's water equivalent. 

Josh: 
Okay

John:  Yeah, like around here, we've had it where the snow will get
up to the roof.

Josh:  Yeah, sure, um

David:  It was like a [?]
meter

Josh:  Really

John:  Yeah

David:  a couple weeks ago

John:  Oh,
yeah, it was

Josh:  Wow

John:  During winter it was, uh, to get to the
tower, you had to stand about six foot high to get to that, this first
level under the snow.

Josh:  Okay

John:  So, uhm, so the technique
eddy-covariance, which is what the sensors are on the right, the way that
works, is that uhm, you uhm, kinda tie it all together, you, you,  see if I
can think this real clearly, like the forest breathes in the carbon dioxide
but it doesn't have lungs, of course, and so the way the CO2 gets to it is
actually through the wind 

Josh:  Okay

John:  and through the turbulence
in the atmosphere and then we call it the eddies and it's the circular
motion of the atmosphere.  Uh, so think of that, the eddies as being,
kinda, the lungs of the forest.  The eddies are what are responsible for
taking  CO2 from the upper atmosphere 

Josh:  Okay

John:  and, as the
eddies circulate down into the forest, uhm, that brings the carbon next to
the trees, the trees, you know, pull the carbon out and do their photo, you
know, photosynthesize

Josh:  Okay

John:  group it on woody mass and
everything and that and then the eddy returns back up into the
atmosphere

Josh:  Okay

John:  The way our experiment works is, you can
see the little claw there, imagine like that being part of an infinite
plane, that, you know, kinda horizontal

Josh:  Okay

John:  that divides
the atmosphere from the forest below

Josh:  Alright,

John:  So,

Josh: 
so it's basically just a little bit above the canopy

John:  It's a little
above the canopy, so our goal is to see these eddies as they come out of
the atmosphere, cross our plane

Josh:  Okay

John:  and go into the
forest, and we want to see what is the concentration of like CO2
before

Josh:  and after

John:  and then when the eddies make the return
trip back out of the forest, back into the atmosphere, we can see what the
concentration is.  Now, if the trees really are breathing in CO2, you'll
have a tendency that the, the, the down-welling eddies will have higher CO2
concentrations than the upper-welling eddies.

Josh:  Right, yep

John: 
And, the opposite'll be true with water, the eddies that go up will be wet


Josh:  Okay  

John:  because they're taking the water out and the eddies
that go down will be relatively dry.

Josh:  Okay

John:  Temperature is
also something we can measure, and I said energy is another thing you
measure

Josh:  Okay

John:  uhm, because the, the air that typically goes
up is uh, warm 

Josh:  Okay

John:  and the typ, air that comes down is
typically cooler, and, you have to, kinda, you know

Josh:  Right

John: 
During the day, the sun hits the surface, the air near the surface, the
surface gets warm, the air near the surface gets warm and hot air
rises

Josh:  Okay, convective circulation going

John:  Yeah, so that's
what's going on here, and the way that, uh you know, I did say, uh, in
given terms of an infinite plane, and we're kinda cheating cuz that's just
one point, on a plane

Josh:  Okay, right

John:  But the way that you
kinda get around that is as long as it's a well mixed and turbulent
atmosphere, statistically speaking, one point is as good as another. 


Josh:  Okay

John:  That's the, that's the, one of the assumptions uh,
that people make.  Uhm, and I like to say a good analogy is like a, when
you're doing like a, coffee and you put cream into it, you put, just pour
the cream in, in, in, you know you have a two-phase solution, you know, but
you just stir it a little bit with your spoon 

Josh:  Right

John:  and it
takes just a little bit of turbulence and you've, just a minute, and all of
a sudden

Josh:  You have a

John:  it's, it's all, a homogenous mixture,
you could drink your coffee from any part of that cup and it would taste
the same, 

Josh:  Right

John:  you know one point's as good as another.


Josh:  Okay

John:  And, that's kind of the idea, you know, you get
turbulent mixing any point and that's an interesting thing about this GLEES
site so, uhm, so we're in Ameriflex site which is uhm, one of about a maybe
less than a hundred sites across the country that take different
ecosystems, 

David:  It's going up,

John:  is it?

David:  over a hundred
now

John:  it goes up, it depends, they, they're sites going off-line a
lot but there's a, a, there's in the archive they have a lot of sites that
are old so it depends on the active count and the old count, but
regardless, uhm, out of a hundred sites or so, everyone kinda picks off
their own ecosystems.  I'm from Kansas, and there's one

Josh:  Okay

John:
 on the prairie there, where they're seeing how much carbon dioxide does
the tall grass prairie pull out of the atmosphere.

Josh:  Okay

John: 
There's some in a lot of crop lands

Josh:  Oh, I see so you've got

John: 
This is the sub-alpine

Josh:  Okay

John:  forest of the front range in
the Rocky Mountains, and then so, that's kinda our uh, our ecosystem we're
measuring.  There's one in Niwot Ridge, uh, Colorado which is a little bit
lower, it's actually a similar elevation.  We're at 10,400 feet
here,

Josh:  Okay

John:  they're at about 10,000.

Josh:  Okay

John: 
But, they're primary in lodgepole pine,

Josh:  Yep

John:  so it's a
different type of

Josh:  We're all in spruce right, mostly

John:  Mostly
spruce

Josh:  Yeah, is there any fir in here?

John:  There is, actually
right there

Josh:  Oh, yeah

John:  That's why we picked to tower to be
right here

Josh:  Oh

John:  because we wanted to be next to a, a mature
fir, sub-alpine fir 

Josh:  Okay

John:  [?] Engelmann spruce.  Uhm, so,
that's kinda what's going on there.  But, I was talking about the
turbulence thing which is kinda interesting.  So, there's you know, at
least a hundred sites across the country to compare to and the turbulence
of the atmosphere is one of the things you can also measure.  See, with
eddy-covariance you can see what the drag is of the atmosphere and uh, this
GLEES site was off the charts, uhm, more turbulent than any other site in
the country, and so

Josh:  Really

John:  it's uhm, proof positive that it
is windy in Wyoming

Josh:  Laughter

John:  Undeniable, it's off the
charts, nothing even comes close to it

Josh:  Huh

John:  But, it's good
for eddy-covariance measurements, because now our assumption that it's a
well-mixed atmosphere is a very valid 

Josh:  Oh

John:  it's almost
always well-mixed

Josh:  Yeah [?] you're copying [?]

John:  Yeah, yeah so
you know, making our one point on our tower is really 

Josh:  Okay

John: 
like hitting that plane [?]

Josh:  Right, okay

David:  Things that work
here, they're not gonna be working anywhere else

Josh:  Anywhere else,
okay

John:  Yeah, we have our own challenges here uh, the, the bad, the
weather, the snow, that's a, that's a real challenge of ours.  Uh, cuz you
get, uh, our sensors, ah you'll, actually I've got one here I'll show you
before we climb up.  This is a CO2 sensor

Josh:  Okay

John:  later today
I want to change it out.  My summer maintenance.  But, uhm, this is an open
path CO2 sensor, so it basically just, uh, uh, is open to the atmosphere,
the air flows through 

Josh:  Okay

John:  It actually has a source of
infrared light down here in a uh, a chopper wheel, and, and some filters,
and actually filters out that infrared light to be frequencies that are
absorbed by the uh, CO2 molecule and the water molecule [?].

Josh:  Okay,
so you can test both

John:  Yeah, so the, the concept is that the
intensity of the light, uhm, if, if there is more CO2 here, it will absorb
more of that uh, uh, infrared light and so the detector up here will
receive less light intensity.

Josh:  Okay

John:  And so, it's kind of a
inverse proportion, so if it's less CO2, you'll get more light on the other
side.

Josh:  Okay

John:  So, you're kinda actually using the same
phenomenon with CO2 that's causing everyone grief with uh, climate change
and global warming 

Josh:  Right

John:  The fact that CO2 absorbs
infrared light, well you're using it to your advantage here

Josh: 
advantage here, right

John:  to measure it

Josh:  Okay

John:  You know,
but, uh, so one of our problems in the wintertime is this guy just gets
bombarded with blowing snow

Josh:  Oh, right

John:  cuz that, I mean,
probably 30 percent of the winter, it's just buuuuugh, you know,

Josh: 
Okay

John:  turbulent blowing snow

Josh:  Right

John:  And that, uh, is,
is a, a problem uhm, with our site.  Everyone has their challenges. 

Josh:
 Yeah, exactly

John:  So, uhm, like I said, we've been doing this for 10
years.  Uh, the last five of em, 4 of em I know, 4 ? are online uh, with
the Ameriflex site.  You can do

Josh:  Oh they are, okay

John:  You can
download the data, it's open to the public, uh, since the Forest Service
paid for it, it's public domain stuff.

Josh:  Right, okay

John:  Uhm, and
so, what's been interesting with the experiment now, why you're up here,
too and why Dave is up here is that, uhm, we've had, uh, uhm, you can see
all the beetle uh, the uh, what's going on, so we basically have an
experiment where for the last decade or so, we've been watching the carbon
sink, we've been watching

Josh:  Okay, right

John:  the water, you know,
balance

Josh:  Okay

John:  and as the water comes out of the ecosystem,
and now, you throw into this forest, you know, a major uh, epidemic of uh,
spruce beetle.  

Josh:  Okay

John:  And you know, I'd say at this point,
you know we're probably, I don't know a specific number, but it might be 30
percent mortality already, if not 50 percent

Josh:  Of the spruce in
this

John:  Of the, yeah, cuz, you'll see uh, when we get closer, there's
a lot of trees that still have a lot of green needles that if you look at
their base, uh, and this is a great example, uh, these trees right here,
uh, this spruce, he's been hit badly by the

Josh:  Right

John:  uh,
spruce beetle, 

Josh:  Okay

John:  you can see the pitch-out tubes

Josh:
 Yep

John:  But, if you look up, he still has green needles

Josh:  Oh,
okay

John:  So, when you stand on top of the tower, a lot of these green
trees are actually dead or dying

Josh:  Really, oh, okay.  So, is, this
type of beetle generally, it, drops needles at the top first?

John:  No,
actually, it's been dropping em from below first, 

Josh:  Really

John: 
uh, working it's way up.

Josh:  Okay

John:  Uhm, yeah, so

Josh:  Huh,
I've seen where it's dropped from the top 

John:  Yeah

Josh:  and the
lower branches will have

John:  this guy is a great example of what I'm
talking about.  You can see some, a lot of needle drop on these lower 20,
30 feet

Josh:  Oh, right

John:  and it's still got green needles on
top

Josh:  Yeah, okay, so, from the top, it actually looks better

John: 
Yeah, so when we go up on top of the tower, you can take a peek, 

Josh: 
Yep

John:  and you'll see, uhm, all of the mortality and realize 

Josh: 
Okay

John:  it's worse than what it looks

Josh:  Okay, yeah, and, from
this point it doesn't look that, there's still a lot of green

John:  Yeah,
and you can tell, like look at this guy's base

Josh:  Yeah

John:  this
guy's been shredded by

Josh:  Okay

John:  uh, woodpeckers

Josh: 
Right

John:  trying to get em.  Uhm, so that's kinda what's been an
interesting part of this experiment now is to have a real long hist, rich
history of, you know, what's been going on with the carbon sink, 

Josh: 
Okay

John:  what's going on with the water, you know, balance basically,
and now, you know, we might lose, I don't know what, you know, we could
lose 80-90 percent or more or the trees here

Josh:  Right

John:  mature
trees at least.

Josh:  Okay

John:  And, you know, this might not be a
carbon sink in the future, it might shift to be a carbon, a carbon source,
it might become a source as these trees start to decay.

Josh: 
Right

John:  You know, and that's a re

Josh:  [?]

John:  That has major
issues for climate change

Josh:  Right

John:  You know, I mean, cuz now
people would love these things to be carbon sinks, strong carbon sinks for
a very long time and there's no guarantee they're gonna do that.

Josh: 
Right

David:  Especially for the decade where everything is dead and
decaying

John:  Yeah

David:  And you're not getting a lot of
regrowth

Josh:  Oh, okay, yeah, because there's gonna be a period where
the trees aren't big enough to

John:  Yeah, just the small trees are gonna
be alive and they, they aren't gonna pull so much carbon out, and maybe not
as much as these old trees are decaying, you know

Josh:  Okay

John:  So,
that's part of what we're trying to see

Josh:  Okay

John:  That's the
whole point

Josh:  So, it's good that you had it already set up and

John:
 We're fortunate

Josh:  Yeah, it is

John:  Although, it's uh, ok, but it
does make me sad, because we've uh, and we, we have an [?]crinologist that
works at the station with us and we've done some tree coring in the area
and some of these trees, most of them around here are 2-300 years
old.

Josh:  Is that right?

John:  the big ones here

Josh:  Whew!

John: 
But there are ones in the area that are, you know 6-700 years old

Josh: 
No kidding, huh

John:  And, around Brooklyn Lake and such and you know,
they've already,

Josh:  You can't

John:  they're dying of beetle kill and
you hate to see these beautiful, magnificent trees 

Josh:  Yeah

John: 
killed by this little beetle but, 

Josh:  Right

John:  It's a reality,
so, that's a, wheres lodgepole are definitely a younger forest, those guys
can

Josh:  Okay

John:  be, you know, a hundred years is a, two hundred
years might be really old for a lodgepole

Josh:  Okay

John:  Uhm, 

Josh:
 spruce is gonna age a lot

John:  Yeah, so, that's the kind of background
I have of what I'm goin' on, any questions of me, uhm

Josh:  Uh

John: 
before we do more of a tour

Josh:  Uhm, just one question is, have, how
much has the carbon, uh, flux, er, carbon dioxide flux changed then, in the
last couple a years?

John:  Uhm, not

Josh:  not noticeable 

John:  not
much, and that's part of, uhm, uhm, no, it's gone down a bit, uh, in fact,
our, in 2005 was our last really good year of carbon

Josh:  Okay

John: 
Uhm, and then one of the things that we

Josh:  Was that correlated, do you
think, with this?

John:  Well, that's what we think, and, and that's one
of my questions for the summer, now we can get in cuz the snow's gone, is
to go in and do tree coring out in the forest and see, uh, what year did a
lot of these trees start dying cuz I was never in the business of repeat
photography but I can show you some in a second, uhm, but uh, in 2005 was
probably our last good picture of a lot of live trees and then my next
picture was 2007 and you can already see a lot of dead trees.

Josh: 
Right

John:  We're thinking that maybe starting in 05, we started losing
a lot of

Josh:  Okay

John:  these trees and, and David may know more
about this but, uh, the, uh, I know Brent's group was taking, uh, leaf
respiration measurements on these guys,

Josh:  Okay

John:  they have
access up and down the canopy

Josh:  Oh, I see

John:  And I think he's,
he was telling me, that even at the end of last year, this guy, who had
just been recently infec, infected with the, infested with the beetles, was
already at like 50 percent, you know

Josh:  Oh, wow

John:  That's what
this guy was, he

Josh:  Okay

John:  You know, so, he you know, he had
just been attacked and he was already shutting down.

Josh:  Right

John: 
And, once they start shutting down, they're not pulling the carbon
out

Josh:  Okay

John:  You know, and so I'd like to see in this, you
know, probably all, most of our air comes from the west so this tower is
simp, a lot of time sampling the forest that's west of us.

Josh: 
Okay

John:  Uhm, and be, and that being said, I'd like to get in the wes,
go west here and see, you know, what year

Josh:  Okay

John:  a lot of
these trees start to die

Josh:  Okay, so, from behind Brown's Peak, it's
coming in, er

John:  Well, probably a little before, in front of Brown's
Peak

Josh:  Okay

John:  But, if you look that way, from the top of the
tower, it looks pretty ratty, and so

Josh:  Okay

John:  And then the
photographic evidence is that it got pretty ratty around

Josh: 
Yeah

John:  '06, 07

Josh:  Okay

John:  But, you know, tree coring will
give us a better, uh

Josh:  What about the water flow?

John:  Well,
that's actually stayed pretty constant, but then again, there's more to the
water than, uhm, than just the trees.  I mean, 

Josh:  Right

John: 
obviously, sublimation is something that

Josh:  Okay

John:  regardless of
trees or not, it's gonna happen off the snowpack.  And uh, you know, just
even, uh, evaporation

Josh:  Okay

John:  will happen regardless, and, and
so, I was thinking it would be a little more robust but actually that's
been a very constant number.  And, actually the technique works a little
better for water vapor anyway, so I think we're, 

Josh:  Okay

John: 
we're more confident

Josh:  Did you do soil moi, moisture content?

John: 
You know, we, we actually have a, uh, a ten year old record of soil
moisture although I've never analyzed it, but one thing is, uh, what we did
when we realized last fall that this was starting to become a real issue,
is, we uh, quadrupled the amount of soil measurements we were making
here

Josh:  Okay

John:  and that's, it's just in the forest over
there

Josh:  Okay

John:  and we're trying to actually make it kinda, put
it in companion with the stuff we've had for the long-term record and, and
see if, uhm, and I put sensors, and, and I know there, Brent's got soil
moistures, and you can see some of these, like these black wires on the
ground

Josh:  Mm-hmm

John:  That's uhm, I see some over there,

David:  
Yeah, there's 

John:  uhm, that's what he's measuring

Josh:  Okay

John: 
And so, you know, we're trying to see, cuz obviously, you, you take out
these big trees and that, are, you know, pulling all the water out of the
ground.

Josh:  Exactly, yeah, yeah, it

John:  You'd assume water would
probably build up in the ground 

Josh:  Mm-hmm, yep

John:  So, what's
we've done over here is picked a bunch of, I tried to find, it was really
hard, but I tried to find big, mature spruce to put soil moisture sensors
are

Josh:  Okay

John:  in, in the October.  I did, I think I succeeded to
find a few and, the hope is, in a year or two, they'll, they'll get
attacked and then, you know, we'll see if uh,

Josh:  how it's changing 


John:  how it's changing but that's another part of the p, puzzle.

Josh:
 Okay

John:  So part of it's adapting to determine

Josh:  Okay,
yeah

John:  is the, are the changes.  I never knew I'd probably be in the
business of beetles.  

Josh:  Nobody, nobody probably did but the way it's
going, everybody is

John:  Exactly, so in what you'll have an opportunity
of I'll say, is uhm, uhm maybe right now, since John's not here, if he's
around the forest somewhere, is, we'll, we'll give you the full tour of
the, the tower and

Josh:  Okay

John:  this kinda part of the work

Josh: 
Okay

John:  But, uh, we have an entomologist with the Rocky Mountain
Research Station

Josh:  That's great, yeah

John:  And his name is Jose
Negron and he, his technician, John Popp, is out here today

Josh: 
Okay

David:  Three John's

John:  Oh, yeah, there's three of us named
John.

Josh:  Yeah

John:  another John'll probably show up too, air
quality.  That's what you see uh, this uh, cage here

Josh:  Okay

John: 
that's what they're doing is trapping beetles 

Josh:  Oh, wow, okay,
yeah

John:  in fact, we can maybe, I don't know if we'll see one or not
but they're probably, yep, I can see one, there's a beetle right
there,

Josh:  Oh, yep

John:  that's a spruce beetle

Josh:  Oh okay, it's
pretty much the same size as a

John:  They're a same genus, different
species of the mountain pine beetle

Josh:  Okay

John:  I think he's
brown

Josh:  He is brown yeah, the other one's are black, yep

John: 
maybe he's got some orange and such, but, yeah they're very similar uh,
species, and some, anyway, he'll tell you more about that and it'd be great
when, when he arrives, what he, and he's also got

Josh:  Does that mean
they're flying?

John:  Oh, yeah, so this guy, what they, here's uh, he'll
show ya this too, but they've staples this onto the

Josh:  Yep

John:  and
they're getting the tree, the beetles are [?]

Josh:  they're coming out,
right

John:  But he's also got, and I saw it a second ago, a strap hanging
in a tree, here you go, you can see a black and white thing hangin'

Josh: 
Oh, yep, yep

John:  That's their in, uh, that's their beetle traps

Josh: 
Okay, I've heard about those

John:  [?] when they're flying

Josh:  Yeah,
I've never seen one but that'll be a good picture

John:  They've got bait
and they're trying to catch em.  

Josh:  Okay

John:  So uh, and that's
uh, so we're trying to really nail this down in tandem to, you know, come
up with

Josh:  [?]

John:  ecosystems, flux, 

Josh:  Okay

John:  carbon,
water, temperature, any, all that stuff

Josh:  Does it get a little bit
overwhelming?

John:  soil moisture, and then with uh, and put the beetles
into it.  Well you know, it's what I do for a living

Josh:  Okay

John: 
You know

Josh:  It's all connected in one way or another 

John:  Yeah, oh
yeah.  It's not a bad job to have to do.

David:  And, you're not the only
person, too.

Josh:  Yeah

John:  No, no

Josh:  What's inside of the, the
cabin, then?

John:  Yeah, so this is uh, this is our uh, storage to hold
our instruments, our computers, 

Josh:  Okay

John:  [?]hear the radio.
Yeah, I was getting ready to climb the tower when you showed up, so let's
put my stuff away.  In fact, I was going to show ya the.. pictures, that's
the [?] peak photography that we did

Josh:  Oh, wow, yeah

John:  But, you
know, 305, 

Josh:  Yeah

John:  especially look in the foreground, these
were all green.  I do know, I [?] one picture in 07, it was not because
the [?] that I was trying to get a different picture 

Josh:  Okay

John: 
it wasn't very good, but you can even see like this guy now is dead

Josh: 
Okay, right

John:  but back in here is getting pretty,

Josh:  Yeah

John:
 lot of mortality, but even look at what happened from '07 to '08, and
these poor guys in the front

Josh:  are all

John:  That's just kinda the
story and then I think I've got some more different angles, uhm, work out
of the way.  If you want, you can keep those and I can, or if you want, I
can get you electronic files

Josh:  Okay

John:  Uhm

Josh:  Yeah, that
would be great

John:  Uhm, like here's an example, this is the
e-covariance equipment and here's a [?], versus a, you can definitely see a
lot of mortality

Josh:  Right

John:  but the trees, like, you know, that
guys right there.  And, you know, these are things we are measuring, you
know, we're, we're measuring the forest upstream of our [?]

Josh:  This is
all what you're measuring

John:  Yeah, so you would imagine, so I, I'm,
what I'm working on right now, is I said we went online in '99, our, our
data from '99 to '04 is still in process.  Although, actually, I started
working on it a little more this morning, breaking it up.  So, our goal is,
you know, I'd imagine from '99 to '05, it's all a lot of happy trees, as
you can see

Josh:  Okay, right

John:  But somewhere, in the last, uh,
probably three years, things have really started to take a turn for the
worse and you can definitely see the before after.  And then, I think
there's one, where I have three pictures, south, there's another good one,
how come I'm not seeing any pictures, I'm not sure [?] picture, Oh well,
that's a good one though.  Oh, it's right there, that's why.  And you can
definitely tell, uh, the contrast of a lot of,

Josh:  Right

John:  you
know, a lot of green trees you don't see in '05, you see [?] green trees or
dead trees to the south, really but starting in '08, you just see it
[?]

Josh:  Yeah, you can even out there

John:  And I, I'm, one of my
goals today, if I get a chance is take more pictures although, I wanna, I
wanna, I wanna do it in September more after the season

Josh:  Okay

John:
 Cuz a lot of these are, you know, late August, early September

Josh: 
Right, yeah, keep it

John:  consistent, but it's already looks worse than
that.  

Josh:  Okay

John:  And that's kinda the moral of the story, so,
you can keep these or I can send them to you electronically

Josh:  Yeah, I
might, that would, electronically would probably work better and then you
don't have to

John:  [?] a guy from Reuter's yesterday came out

Josh: 
Oh, really

John:  He wanted

Josh:  No kidding, huh

John:  Yeah, he flew
in somewhere

Josh:  Huh

John:  So, uh, and maybe finally, before I climb
or let you in on some stuff, so, when you do eddy-covariance, it's very
data intensive.  This is actually the data, uh, printing out and uhm, this
would be uh, your temperature, uh, in black

Josh:  Okay

John:  and these
are your three dimensions of wind speed, you try these three [?] they can
get turbulence to convert, you know, up and down, the rotation,

Josh: 
Okay

John:  the [?] and stuff

John:  Uhm, and this here is uh, CO2
concentration, 480

Josh:  Okay

John:  milligrams of carbon dioxide per
cubic meter of volume 

Josh:  Okay

John:  Uh, water vapor, is well, this
is actually a pretty wet day, so actually it's off my chart but you could
see it probably if I rescaled it.

Josh:  Oh, okay 

John:  I put it on the
wrong axis but, regardless, uhm, the, the data is being collected 20 times
a second and that's because eddies can be of all sizes that will deliver it
to you.  You can have big eddies that can last, uhm, minutes

Josh: 
Okay

John:  be the size of, up to kilometers, 

Josh:  Right

John:  you
know, they can last 10, 20, 30, 40 minutes, even longer.  But you can have
eddies that, especially when you get near the surface, eddies can get, you
know to the atomic level.

Josh:  Okay

John:  and they get

Josh:  so
that's why the very small

John:  Yeah, up on the tower, where we make the
measurements, it seems like, uhm, probably a hundred meters is about to
that, that point, anything a hundred meters or bigger in size, which also
is like probably like 10 seconds or, or 50 or 60 seconds, big, those kind
of eddies, are the ones mostly responsible for pulling, bringing the carbon
in.  But eddies do get smaller and we do see eddies as small as like a
meter up on that tower, you know, that are kinda swirling, bringing stuff
in.  And that's why to do that you go fast, and you take 20 samples a
second

Josh:  Okay

John:  The processing that happens though is, for
every ? hour, I essentially boil this down to the vertical wind
velocity

Josh:  Okay

John:  and then I also co-vary it with the CO2
concentration.  And the goal is, once again, that if the wind is going
down, you assume the CO2 concentration can be relatively high

Josh: 
Okay

John:  and when the wind goes up, the CO2 concentration can be
relatively low.  And,

Josh:  Cuz the

John:  they call it eddy-covariance
and now you know what the eddy is, it's circulation.

Josh:  Right

John: 
But, they call it covariance because it's straight out of statistics, it's
the covariance.  You co-vary this term, 

Josh:  Oh

John:  the CO2
concentration with the

Josh:  Right, okay

John:  with the, the vertical
uh, wind velocity, which means effectively, every ? hour I take the data
which is collected 20 times a second, so over the course of a ? hour,
there's 36,000 measurements

Josh:  Right

John:  of wind velocity and
36,000 CO2 concentrations

Josh:  Okay, and its showing up

John:  I pair
em up and I do a covariance which, you know, just if you [?] basically
just track the mean of the both of em, [?] individuals and take the
average, but the point is, you basically take 36,000 data points and you
process this down to one.  Then ov, then what you do is, uhm, that's with
the half hour.  You do that for the next half hour and the next half hour
and you do it for like, you know 17,000 half hours over the course of a
year.

Josh:  Right, and you can start to see

John:  Yeah, in fact let me
uh, I think I've got, show you some of the data [?] it doesn't matter. 
Hope I have the zoom in, yeah I do.  So, like here's carbon, this is the
data we, this is the data from the scaffolding.  We actually, as we walk
out, well, you won't be able to see it.  And it's actually, it's in this
little picture here.  It used to be the old tower.  

Josh:  Okay

John: 
You see it's missing [?]

Josh:  Oh right, okay

John:   That's where a lot
of the old '99 to 2000 [?] database [?] was collected.  But, that's why we
don't have old records but.  See, like with carbon dioxide, what you do is,
you uh, let's start with the half hourly data, [?].  This is the month of
August

Josh:  Okay

John:  for the last three years, well, 2008's missing,
but they should print out the new one, uhm, and you can see, here's the
daily cycle, so this is midnight

Josh:  Okay

John:  uhm, and at midnight
you see the carbon flux upward a little bit so it means at night you're
getting a little bit of forest respiration

Josh:  Okay

John:  A lot of it
came from the soil, some from the trees and its just CO2, you know

Josh: 
going up

John:  just going up.  As soon as the sun comes out, you start to
see that changed sign down to about noon where you get your peak 

Josh: 
Okay

John:  carbon sink.  And, and, and, basically that's just maximum
photosynthesis

Josh:  Okay, exactly

John:  trees are really pulling in
carbon dioxide. You've got this cycle going on every single day of the
summer in the month of August

Josh:  Yeah, okay

John:  [?] and as it
kinda alternates between, you know, photosynthesis and having a major
carbon sink during the day, at night time you get a little bit of a carbon
source

Josh:  Okay

John:  and if you were to do this, and remember each
every single one of these points is taken from this data summarized over
the half hour, 36,000 points summarized into one

Josh:  Okay, huh

John: 
So, there's a lot of data, uhm, [?] what I'm doing.  Now, what you do is
you see what over the course of a year and you can see a trend here. 
During the, uhm, summer time, er, winter time there's not much activity but
as soon as you get to about uhm,

John C.:  [?]

Josh:  Hello

John:  This
is John Corpucker(?), by the way.  He's a colleague at the Forest Service. 
Uhm, we're almost done here, John, we're gonna give him the tour and I
don't know if they're gonna have a chance to go with you or not, they
might. 

John C.:  Okay

John:  We'll talk about another minute, 

John C.:
 [?]

John:  yeah, just hang out for a few minutes here til John, and,
and, and then we'll figure out a plan.  

John:  Okay

John:  Uhm, starting
about midday, you can see the growing season start, you can see the daily
trend start to form.  And, then about the end of October, 

Josh:  Oh,
because

John:  you see that trend

Josh:  [?] virtually

John:  Yeah,
that's the growing season here.

Josh:  Right

John:  This is when the
trees are photosynthesizing in the heat

Josh:  Okay

John:  and so uhm,
and then by about the end of October, they just kinda shut, shut
down

Josh:  Okay

John:  But here's the, I was gonna show you water. 


Josh:  Yeah, that would be

John:  Opposite story.  

Josh:  Okay

John: 
At night, the water just kinda shuts off.  But, during the day when the sun
comes out, once again you have photosynthesis, you also get evaporation so
you get evapo-transpiration coming from the forest and you see all those
water molecules going up.  

Josh:  Okay

John:  And then at noon, you
kinda get that peak and then it kinda slows down and then you get uh, for
the annual.  Where's the annual water, its not quite as shut off during
winter time as carbon 

Josh:  Okay

John:  Because this is, these are
sublimation events primarily, I think its for all these probably.  Is, uh,
you know, you've just got water vapor [?]ing off snowpack, we're seeing it
leave the uh, forest and going into the atmosphere.  But, during the
summer, you certainly see a bulge and a peak

Josh:  So, there's more of
it

John:  And, that's where you get your evapo-transpiration going
on

Josh:  Okay

John:  And let me, and then what you can do is you can add
up all these points and come up with a, a data by saying

Josh:  Okay,
yep

John:  We have, essentially 60 or 70 centimeters of water a year, you
know, going up

Josh:  going up.  So, basically if the spruce does die off
in this area, you would see more of this

John:  You might see

Josh:  I
mean, it would, there would be this

John:  This might be flattened out a
bit

Josh:  Yeah, okay

John:  But there might be more sunlight getting to
the floor

David:  Yeah

John:  the canopy, and causing more

Josh: 
Okay

John:  evaporation, it's, it's, it's a complex thing

Josh:  so many
variables

John:  and the final one

David:  Carbon's pretty easy

John: 
carbon's a lot easier

David:  There's really just one thing going on,
photosynthesis and then respiration take care of it, but with water,
there's, there's more pathways

John:  [?]

David:  Yeah

John:  Here's the
thermal energy and it's similar to water.  Uh, at night you do have a
little bit of down [?], the hot air does kinda settle, warm air settles at
night but as soon as the sun comes up you see all the hot air rise.

Josh: 
Okay

John:  Convective heating going on

Josh:  And then you have stuff
like

John:  Yeah, its probably a day where it might a been a cloudy day,


Josh:  Okay

John:  not much sunlight and so you wouldn't get much, you
know it was probably cold, too.  I bet it was a cold day,

Josh: 
Okay

John:  that's how you get your daily heating too.  When the
atmosphere gets warm from the surface.

Josh:  Right, okay

John: 
Actually, uhm, so that's your, your heat going up.  And so, that's kinda
similar story and then, annually that doesn't really shut off during the
winter cuz you, even in the middle of winter, you know, you get, it gets
hot during the, the day.

Josh:  Okay

John:  You know, but you can still
see that more warm air rises in the summer than the winter but generally
that system goes on year round

Josh:  Okay

John:  So, that kinda
summarizes what's going on with the, the data in case uh, you want to know.
 Here's some just some basic meteorology [?] generally the average is about
0 Celsius, so it's about freezing 

Josh:  Okay

John:  In the winter time
it's, you know, but it uh, generally never gets below about 30 below, we've
never seen it.  This is the coldest day, John and I worked on this day and
it was beautiful but it was cold.

Josh:  Huh

John:  Alright, in the
summer time

Josh:  [?], what a negative 28

John:  Yeah, I had the range
about negative 28 to about 18 Celsius, for the peak.  So, you know, today
it's sitting at about 12 Celsius so it's a little cooler than it could be
[?].  Windy, it's Wyoming, its windy. 

Josh:  Yep

John:  I mean, that's
uh, usually, it's not as windy in the summer but we have an average of
about 5 meters per second which is about 11 or 12 miles per hour.

Josh: 
Okay

John:  That's the average wind, 

Josh:  constant

John:  constant. 
Which is, that's a lot for like [?].  This is always a fun one, this is the
wind directions up here.  

Josh:  Oh, right

John:  It almost always comes
out of the West.  I mean, with our [?] gram of where the wind comes
from.

Josh:  Okay

John:  So, which means when we sample our, you know
with eddy-covariance tower, we are always looking at the forest.  

Josh: 
Okay

John:  To the west, almost always.  So, anyway, that's kinda of, uhm,
the rundown of what going on, you know, how it goes from this computer, you
know from this data  to useable data

Josh:  So every Tuesday you come up
and collect

John:  Every Tuesday

Josh:  Yep

John:  Oh, and the final
thing I've got to say is, since '99, we're up to, this is a one and a half
terabyte hard-drive

Josh:  Okay

John:  and it's getting pretty full.  I
mean, we're, at one point, I, I always raise the number.  I'm probably up
to 35 or 40 billion data points we've collected here since the start of the
experiment, so

Josh:  Wow

John:  Yeah, there's a lot of work that goes
into just getting here.  So, you can see its a neat data set that's useable
to a lot of people, watershed people, 

Josh:  I bet

John:  ecology
people, you know climate change people are interested

Josh:  Right

John: 
You know, you name a discipline, there's a, there's an interesting exchange
going on here.

Josh:  Okay, thanks, appreciate that

John:  That's
that.