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Tackling Modeling, Data, and Cow Pies (Week Three)

Monday and Tuesday:
     So I was extremely excited to begin this week of work because I had finally received observation data from three of the Centers sensors out in Cunningham Slough on Sauvie Island. I began Monday by essentially looking at the data in a spreadsheet trying to make sense of what it meant. I pretty much understood the temperature, and pressure readings, but the depth readings, measured in feet, and did not make sense. They consisted of numbers ranging from 45 to 65 ft. Way to deep to be coming out of Cunningham Slough. Later that day I find out that the censors we are using were calibrated for the atmosphere in Denver, Colorado, and thus were not corresponding to proper pressure calibration down in Portland. I thought this was really interesting not only because I knew the values did not make sense, but mainly because of an error that you would not normally think of. I now just have to wait to hear back from some other people about how this problem can be resolved. 

     On Tuesday I began by writing scripts in matlab that would generate figures with the corresponding data. Mojgan began extracting a model run so that I would have something to compare my data to, but she said the extraction could take up to 5 days. So Grant got me set up with an extraction from Forecast-26. I began by getting a couple more quick tutorials from Grant, and then set about developing some observation vs. model extraction plot of temperature from three locations in Cunningham Slough. I was so excited to be doing some extractions and being able to analyze the figures to see where the model loses accuracy. Grant and I stumbled across one problem, where in the model was cooling off the input values by the time they reached Cunningham slough from Bonneville dam. This only occurred, however, when we conducted an extraction from the bottom not the surface. It was intriguing to finally find an "error" in the model (later to find out that it was our extraction methods), but I was excited nonetheless. I was anxious to see if the problem lied with in the wetting/drying effects of the three dimensional nodal prisms in the shallows. To test this we derived the plan to extract data from deep parts in the channel where the resolution of the grid is higher and the effects of the wetting/drying are not as prevalent. Unfortunately they showed the same results, leading us to believe that there is an error with in our model extraction using modext. Below are two images, one of which we would expect to see between the data and the forecast-26 model and the other shows the problem we were having.

Later in the day Dr. Baptista came and found me and asked that I give a quick presentation of what I have been working on in his modeling team meeting Wednesday morning. I was excited but also really nervous. I did not really know what to put together and I was also nervous to be presenting information in front of people that have been working on this topic for, well, a long time. But I stayed at the center until about 7:30pm and put together a presentation of some figures I had generated and some of my images from ARCGIS. 

     I got to the center bright and early ready to present and then take our group photo and go and get a safety training session. I went to the meeting and presented, leaving with some great tips on how to improve. I was extremely beneficial. We then took our group photo and proceeded to our safety training. By the end of the training I was so exhausted. Sasha and I sat down with Grant and we discussed different aspects of the project that were still a little confusing to us. Then Missy came into Grant's office and asked us if we wanted the four sets of data from Cunningham Slough, I thought it could be useful and then she asked if we wanted to go down to the river and get it with her. Without even thinking I was like, "of course!!!!" I could not wait to go down to the river and actually see what the slough looked like. 

     Sasha and I arrived at the center at 8 ready to leave with Missy to drive out to Sauvie Island to go and find our sensor. We arrived at the parking spot and had to trek through a wild life preserve, where the only wild life we seen were some cows, in order to reach our censor. Missy ended up putting on the waders, as the water was really high. We found the censor and then began to download the data. This sensor came out of Cunningham Lake. We then hiked back to the car and headed home. When we got back to the center Sasha and I recalibrated the data for the correct pressure and set everything straight to begin extraction of the data in matlab for tomorrow. Below are a few pictures of Cunningham Slough. 

      The week continued to get better. I was very excited to listen to our "Brown Bag" speaker this morning, former congresswoman Hon. Elizabeth Furse. This woman was absolutely stunning. Her talk about the problems tribes continuously face in their treaty rights was beyond motivating. I have always found tribal policy riveting. I could have listened to her talk four hours on end. It was exceptionally motivating because I had no idea how often poor government decisions affects the tribal peoples in the Oregon/Washington area and because what I am working on is correlated to their land/fishery treaty rights. I very much hope to meet Mrs. Fuse again.