The calendar may say it’s spring now, but New Hampshire is infamous for long, unpredictable winters (case in point: the recent string of March nor’easters). The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, situated in the White Mountains, is no different. Here, snowpack regularly persists well into April, and the weather in the months leading up to the spring meltdown can be a whiplash-inducing mixture of snowstorms, thaws, bitter cold, and rain-on-snow events.
Amidst the ups and downs of the thermometer and the rapid shifts from sunny skies to stormy ones, one thing remains a constant: Every Monday, technicians go into the forest to record the latest conditions.
The Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study was founded in 1963 to study the relationship between forest cover and water quality and quantity. Today, it has the longest record of precipitation and streamwater chemistry in the world. The technical staff is tasked with making sure the instruments that collect the data are running smoothly and the numbers they’re relaying are accurate. It all starts with Monday “rounds.”
Fickle winter weather makes regularly visiting the forest’s nine experimental watersheds challenging, but the long-term records that Hubbard Brook is known for would be woefully incomplete without the technicians’ year-round efforts. This photo essay gives a glimpse at how Hubbard Brook technicians get the job done in tough conditions: