Have you ever thought that the water in the Baltic Sea has a history? The dissolved organic matter (DOM) can be tracked down to soil particles that rivers carry into the sea. The multiDOM researchers study the surface runoff and soil erosion in order to map out this process.

I have put together a simple device for the visual study of the provenience of water. A box made of clear acrylic contains a camera that takes split images of the waterscape. The simultaneous under/over view reveals the colour of the water under the surface (brown indicating the degree of humus = organic matter). And above the vegetation tells about the environment on the sampling site.

My instrument could be used for recording the course of water in the whole catchment area starting from ditches and lakes through rivers into the Baltic Sea. A series of photographs (or videos) would demonstrate how the colour and the turbidity of  water vary on its way to the sea.

 


Henvi multiDOM researchers from left to right: Laura Hoikkala, Ilmo Massa (in the background looming under a black umbrella), Janne Helin, Pirkko Kortelainen, Riitta Autio (red umbrella), Mika Rahikainen, Sakari Kuikka, coordinator Kati Vierikko, Eila Turtola, Harri Kuosa and Helena Soinne. Kari Hyytiäinen is missing from this picture.

September 12, 2012 all the researchers, Henvi-coordinator Kati Vierikko and myself went to MTT Jokioinen research center for a seminar day and fieldtrip.

The day was a success. “My group” is finally getting together: the researchers decided on how to join their forces in order to solve the secrets of the mysterious dissolved organic matter (DOM). And I got a chance to present my work for everybody. The feedback was great and the discussions with the researchers will take me further.

After the seminar we went to see the Jokioinen experimental fields for the study of agricultural nutrient loading and runoff. In the evening smoke-sauna and swimming by the river Loimijoki ended the perfect day.
MTT researcher Eila Turtola pointig at a well on Jokioinen experimental field.


The turbid river Loimijoki seen through my DIYinstrument for studying the provenience of water.

Oh, sorry – it seems that I’ve forgotten to blog about the instrument. Just wait a moment and see my next post…

 

 

 

Since spring 2012, there is a water quality monitoring device on Harakka Island, near the place where most of my water samples for the “Soups of the Day” and the “Stock Cubes” are taken. The instrument measures the salinity, temperature and turbidity levels of sea water. Not exactly dissolved organic matter (DOM) research but still related to it. Around the island Harakka the quality of water is greatly influenced by changes in discharge of river Vantaa.
I was in contact with the researcher Emil Vahtera from Helsinki Environment Centre. He promised that I could use the data from the device in order to produce lists of ingredients to be attached to my soups and stock cubes. The instrument takes measurements every 15 minutes and a statistics of the results is available online as well.
This is how the instrument looks like. From above and under water.

 

In May I took round 40 litres of Helsinki seawater to be evaporated in room temperature inside a picture frame (70x96x4cm). It took over a month to dry, the first ready-one looks like this:

On the left two evaporation frames. On the right the resulting watercolour of the month of May.
A detail of the watercolour painting

 


A Soup of the Day (Tuesday 12.6.2012) was prepared on Källskär – an Island in the Finnish outer archipelago in Åland. The water looked extremely clear compared to Helsinki. The soup as well as the stock cube is almost white. In addition to cooking, I made a series of underwater photos on Källskär, see the one below or load a pdf portfolio (1,5 Mb).

 

I have almost finished my ”touring” inside the HENVI Multidom project.
In January I have met:

11.1.2012 Professor Sakari Kuikka & PhD Mikael Rahikainen (FEM) in charge of the probabilistic analysis and modeling
20.1.2012 Professor Harri Kuosa (SYKE) who leads the water quality research
24.1.2012 Professor Kari Hyytiäinen & Janne Helin (MTT) who develop socio-economic modeling
27.1.2012 PhD Helena Soinne (MTT) in charge of the research related to soil management and chemistry

I still need to go to Viikki this Friday to see Professor Ilmo Massa leading the environmental history section of the Multidom project.

Roughly the research might be divided in two parts:
1.      The virtual modeling work which relies mostly on existing data gathered from case-study areas.
2.      The “basic” natural scientific research about effects of DOM on water quality and in soils.

The virtual models when ready will give direct information for the society about costs and effects of reducing DOM loads. The natural sciences will add to our understanding about what really happens out there in the soils, rivers and finally in the Baltic Sea.

I have learnt a lot about different research methods and understood that in multidisciplinary projects the researchers are not necessarily investigating exactly the same thing. For example there is no simple way to define, what actually is the subject of the research: what is considered as dissolved organic matter? Since this seems to vary according to the methods used and the area chosen for the case studies, it makes the co-operation between the researchers difficult, not to mention how to integrate an artist in the whole.

In my attempt to create an overview of the DOM project I have ended up with a simplified scheme: my tea-bag theory of Multidom (see the attached image).

If all this was about to gain knowledge about different tea sorts we could say that:
-       to start with we need to know how and what is dissolved from a tea bag to the drink itself? And what remains inside the filter once the tea is ready?
-       then we can evaluate the color and the taste of one tea sort – or try out different blends in order to understand how they interact.
-       finally in order to make our tea business economically profitable we need to make virtual models of the process in order to make better decisions and actions in the future.

And last but not least: In addition to tea and some salt, the soup we call The Baltic Sea contains also many other ingredients. Thus we need to know what kind of role our tea blends play in the big picture of enjoying the delicious mixture?

Well, I guess this was exactly what we were NOT to do – go and popularize the research. Tuula, now you need to seriously reconsider your approach!

© 2011 Art&HENVI Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha