Sunday, June 10, 2012

Catchment installation pleasures

It has been a few days and as we were installing stuff, there was little time left for writing inspiring text to place on this blog. Apologies...

Lex gave me some pictures today from the Algarve field course. I think that you'll enjoy them.

How to handle a good Miocene outcrop
Emiel enjoying the Algarve excursion

Outdoor student exercise device in the Algarve
Guru Henk and his flock of dedicated hydrologists

Today is Sunday, trains are apparently on strike in PT and so we have a few extra hours. I should finish a bureaucratic report, but this is more fun to do and I am always in for delays... So here we go.

After the excursion on Tuesday, the students got a day to drive around in their area, meet some farmers, and stick some rain gauges in the soil to put up a rainfall measurement network.  On Wednesday me and Ilja went to the student's residence to discuss the workplan that they had to come up with. Some groups already had a detailed measurement plan, whereas others were a bit more vague. One of the nicest one was made by Chantal's Mesas group, a map with fancy colourful post-it papers showing their proposed sampling spots.

Map of the Mesas catchment with sampling well positions
Then off to the field for the installation of tipping-bucket rainfall gauges and water level sensors. First to the Rio Boco where we demonstrated how to install such a thing, and then with the individual groups to their measurement sites. We started with Tabuaco where the group with Lex (who talks too much according to Sietse) did their thing. Then on to the mesas stream where a logger was placed.

Programming the water level sensor logger
Now, this you don't get in the classroom lectures. Their river wasn't flowing so something had to be done, which was the cleaning of a lot of vegetation in their river channel. And that is hard and sweaty work. Here you see Ilaria assessing the situation.

Ilaria up to her knees in river veggies and who knows what else...
The spade was then used for things it wasn't designed to but in the end there was flow in their channel. In the meantime, the Sao Romao group had installed all their stuff and were dying of boredom with coffee, and delicacies in Cafe Veneluso in Montouro. Calling us every time to see if we were ready for them and being very much afraid that me and Ilja would opt for a lengthy lunch. So we drank a coffee and got these guys to install their logger in an inaccessible but very safe spot and got three of the guys cleaning their channel, which was also filled up with veggies.

Ivan and Leo working on the logger programming with Ilja.
Emiel and Robin installing a water level sensor in their cute little plastic trousers
Emiel, Robin and Leo in action with veggies, note who of the group is missing in this picture...?

 Yes, this guy stood laughing on the side.

Then on with the Presa Velha group to install theirs. We also took a look at a piezometer (how to pronounce this word is a study on its own) and a podsol, where Abdi Gure volunteered to be in the picture for the scale. Another day well spent.

Abdi with his spodosol...
Measuring the head in a piezometer in the Sao Romao catchment. Ilja pronounces this word very differently from Waterloo (and the other Dutch people) and now we are all confused. Fortunately the internet is there to help. If we could just remember this pronunciation......

On Friday we had to install the meteorology tower that gives us the evaporation rates.

Meteorology tower installation near Covao do Lobo
Waterloo adding the thermocouple to the tower and Lex swinging the psychrometer to determine the wet and dry bulb temperatures to calibrate the relative humidity sensor
A few water balance students admitted that they had been reluctant to join, and I guess they remained reluctant during the setup of the tower. However, this reluctance did dissappear completely when we started our traditional lunch in restaurante Sesta in Covao do Lobo (omelets, rabbits, pudding, wine, coffee, salad, sausage dish, etc.). I was too busy eating to take any pictures (other than this slightly blurry one), sorry about that, but it was excellent.
A toast at the end of the lunch on a successful field day

Then on to our favourite illegal garbage dump to say something about groundwater contamination and  and show a spodosol soil, now using Donovan, and a red spade as scale.

Spade as scale for Spodosol and Donovan as scale for spade.
Upon return, we stumbled on a corn field that was being irrigated and we talked to the farmer about his routine. Irrigation, only when needed and no clue about pump capacity or amount of water used. Everything just based on experience, this grandfather knew what he did.

Water balance team hidden behind irrigation sprinklers
Waterloo discussing the meaning of life with a small Portuguese farmer

On Saturday there was the soccer game NL vs. DK, which we, the Dutch, lost so let's not discuss this here and Sunday is still with us... Time for this terrible report writing, no excuses left...
Some of the students watching soccer at Marito's in Barra. The disappointment is already starting to show but was washed away with some extra beers.

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