12th Symposium on Education


The Surface Energy Budget of a Mountain Region

David Gibbons, State College Area High School, State College, PA; and M. S. Guo, E. J. Myers, and K. Tawse

During the summer of 2002, students from Scotland and the United States participated in a joint research initiative. The setting was the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Research was conducted during the month of July in an attempt to gain a holistic understanding of the meteorological processes at work in this mountain region. The primary objective was to investigate trends in atmospheric conditions over time, especially relating to solar radiation and relative humidity.

A meteorological station, provided by NOAA, was set up on a peninsula extending into a 10 acre lake. This station recorded continuous data of the incoming solar radiation, relative humidity, temperature, net radiation, and wind speed. Concurrently, a study of nearby lakes revealed intriguing variations in depth over time. With the radiation and meteorological data gathered, evaporation rates are being surmised. A model of the energy budget of the region was determined. to predict water evaporation over the duration of the study. These findings will be compared to data concerning inflow, outflow, and depth. An accurate, comprehensive understanding of the factors affecting water levels should result. Energy budget analysis should produce an understanding of significant energy transfers in the immediate area where data was collected. Final analysis will include examination of relations between incoming and outgoing radiation of various wavelengths. Relationships between aspects of radiation (incoming vs. outgoing, differing wavelengths) have been determined previously by others. Several resulting models from published sources will be used in energy budget examination. Forthcoming analysis will be designed to produce insight on the influence of the energy budget on the hydrology of the lakes.

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Poster Session 1, Poster Session: K-12, Popular and University Educational Initiatives
Sunday, 9 February 2003, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM

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