The NOAA Mobile Lab has been perusing the dirt roads of the oil and gas fields of the Uinta Basin for almost two weeks now. Most days so far have been in the upper 40s… today was the first day I had to wear a jacket… the wind was cold. Yet, we are still waiting for the snow to come. This morning it looked promising for a short while. When we got up at 6am to get ready to meet with a QEP representative for a tour of different operations in the Basin, it was snowing in Vernal! We ended up with just a few flakes here and as we drove south, it became clear, the oil and gas fields South of Vernal were spared. Guessing when and if the snow will come is a game we do not play. Scientists and the local and state government are so anxious to experience at least one inversion event this winter before everybody packs up their instruments and goes back home.
The valiant Mobile Lab is becoming part of the scenery it seems in the Basin. Sometimes, drivers stop and kindly ask if we need some help when we are parked on the side of a road taking air samples. It feels like the people who work in the oil and gas industry are like a community, always ready to help each other. The van sticks out though, as our QEP host told us today. Almost everyone who works in the Basin has a white pick-up truck… so yes, our Mobile Lab is definitely noticeable especially with the extended arm we have sticking out and holding the sampling tubes and inlets.