Do chambers raise temperatures?
We just made a few observations today to see how the chambers are doing. We do continuously monitor soil temperatures at 2 cm depth in each plot, but these data have not been analyzed yet.
In the meantime, Alicia is using a handheld digital temperature gun and aims it at various places inside each plot to get an idea of overall plot temperature. Interestingly, and as you can see, the temperature of the soil surface is far warmer (24o C) than the air (which was about 4o C). We found this pattern also at our other sites, where soil surface temperatures in general (inside or outside our plots) are far higher than air temperatures. On a different note: we had a great view of crabeater seals (see the ice floe on the right) while we were working at our first site.
I have a nifty device too: a tiny little infrared camera that attaches to my phone. In the thermal image I created you can see that there is more red inside the open-top chamber than outside the chamber. The scale inside the right photo shows that red is warm (and white is the hottest). So our open-top chamber design is successful at increasing the soil surface temperatures inside.
One of the observations we made was that at least one of the warmed plots had very, very green grass compared to outside the plot. Could Antarctic hairgrass already be responding to our warming treatment? Let’s see if we get other striking responses (both plant or microbial!).