July 15, 2010
Today was our first day of “field” work – not in Svalbard, but in Edinburgh (another glacially-carved landscape)! An early train, plane, and bus got us (Fjord & Allen) to University of Edinburgh, the home of the NERC FSF. Today was all about learning the theory and practice behind the star piece of equipment on the trip – the ASD FieldSpec 3.
The FSF exists to (among other things), provide training and user support, and to promote good practice in the application of field spectroscopy. I have to say, they are amazingly informative, helpful, and friendly all day.
So, what are we measuring with this thing? When the sensor (it fits in a backpack, controlled by a computer with a detector that looks like a small gun) is pointed at the glacier surface, the FieldSpec scans the entire spectrum from 350nm to 2500nm and, with the help/calibration of a bright white reference tile we carry along, tells us the percentage of light at each wavelength that the glacier surface reflects.
There are lots of things to consider when taking each measurement. The sky needs to be clear, because that is the condition when satellite imagery is collected. We have to stand so as not to cast a shadow or to reflect additional light on the surface. We have to take the measurement at multiple angles so as to produce an average spectrum. And, one more thing – this instrument is worth £55,000 - so we have to be very careful with it!
You’ll see more photos of the FieldSpec in action once we’re in the field. Less than a week away…
at 11:29 AM