one valley, two seasons

With autumn creeping up on us at home, I’ll bring to you a series on our fieldwork in the amazing autumn of the Arctic in Abisko. This is part III. Click here for part I and II.

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Summer on the Nuolja-side of the mountains

Another day of wild weather wonders in the north.

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Betula nana, the dwarf birch, a mini autumn forest on its own

After two successful days of harvesting our experiments, we changed to something new: observations of the effect of mountain trails on the vegetation.

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Installing the plots of our trail observations on top of mount Nuolja

Long story short, we track a whole stretch of trail from the lowlands up to 1200 meters and monitor the vegetation next to it.

Installing the plots of our trail experiment

That job brought us all the way up on the slope of mount Nuolja (which you might still now from day I). Sunny, but extremely windy, that was the verdict.

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The valley of Björkliden in autumn

But in the distance loomed the danger: a cloud filled with rain, hail and snow, hiding behind the mountains towards Norway. It could easily reach us in a few seconds with these winds, and ruin our whole plan for the day.

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It’s raining in the west, clouds trapped behind the mountains

Yet topography was a blessing today: once in a while, a little wisp of cloud escaped from the mountain tops, but soon enough it blew over again. Once in another while, it was just horizontal rain, flying straight from the other side of the valley into our eyes.

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Yet there we were, enjoying rainbows and sunny skies, while the horizon was groaning under a feel of winter. Unfortunately, that was exactly where we would have to go next.

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More pictures? There is a growing picture gallery on the right of my blog, check it out!

 

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