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Kilpisjärvi: why beer is essential for research

by Liz Kalaugher

Installing an iButton

Peter le Roux installs the air temperature measurement system.

Sometimes research can be tough. To protect their new air temperature measurement kit from the sun, the Helsinki research group I’m following this week needed beer cans. Sixty-one of them. So the team has been diligently drinking with the sole purpose of providing test equipment.

Once the challenge was met, Jussi Mäkinen spray-painted the cans white to increase their reflectivity and transform them into white ventilated radiation shields, although he did point out that this removed any sponsorship opportunities. Stakes made from wooden fence posts got the same treatment, along with the addition of a looped cable-tie that will hold an iButton temperature logger.

Out in the field on Tuesday, on the southern slopes of Saana fell, Peter le Roux hammered in 2 or 3 fence posts near the outer edges of six of the team’s study grids, so that the top was 50 cm above the ground. He placed an iButton, which looks like a large watch battery, into the circle of the cable tie, and nailed a beer can “hat” into position. Finally, an extra coating of white paint was in order, just in case.

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