A Trolley called NIMS

A Trolley called NIMSarticle picture
Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 One of the more curious looking objects on the hill above Toolik Lake in the North Slope of Alaska is the NIMS. The Networked Info Mechanical System is a trolley that moves along two cables between two towers. And if you have a closer look you can recognize our CNR 4 net radiometer among the observational tools loaded on a platform about four feet off the ground.

The CNR 4 Net Radiometer has two sensors pointing up at the sky (to measure incoming solar radiation as well as long wave radiation from the atmosphere), and two sensors pointing down (to measure the solar radiation being reflected from the ground as well as infrared energy emitted from the Earth’s surface). The CNR 4 is part of a suite of sensors on the NIMS designed to examine Arctic ecological characteristics of vegetation for the ITEX AON Project (International Tundra Experiment Arctic Observing Network).  



The trolley moves across the transect (path of study) at roughly two meters per minute while the NIMS scans everything in its path and takes a reading every 3 seconds. The transect crosses three distinctly different areas. It starts out over dry heath, moves across a water track, then onto the familiar tussocks of moist acidic tundra.



Nate Healey checking the sensors on the NIMS 

Nate Healey is a post-doctoral researcher at Florida International University and works with the NIMS in the field. You can read the full article by Nick LaFave in the Polar TREC Journal. PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program in which K-12 teachers spend 2-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions.

In the picture you see Nate Healey checking the sensors on the NIMS trolley.

Photos by Nick LaFave (PolarTREC 2012), Courtesy of ARCUS

The ecological research by Florida International University Department of Biological Sciences, in the North Slope of Alaska is also featured in our newsletter 24.


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