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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

A better environment. The future is now ...

Our daily gadgets are made of plastic. If they break, you throw them and buy a new one. The pile electrical waste is growing. Bit more techy? You could try to repair it and call the helpdesk of the gadget manufacturer for spare parts. 
Helpdesk …  ?  
No reply …
... Still waiting!

This is what happened lately. Some years ago we bought a hairdryer. We chose the more expensive one assuming it would last longer. On the long run maybe even better for the environment? 

Wrong. After some satisfactory years with dry hair, last week the plastic on/off button broke. Some minuets later, the dryer was in all its pieces. Just a small piece broke internally and made the hairdryer a piece of non functional plastic. Its just a cheap plastic button assuming I could order a new one and the manufacturer would send it within a couple of days. One week and some days after I sent an e-mail :tumbleweed … Disappointed filled with anger, my inner engineer kicked in and thought well why not to make a new button by my self. An old hard to read ruler + 3D cad program + 30 min on Saturday morning later I had my digital version of the on/off button on my computer. 

(use mouse to turn and click here to download .stl)

If I had a 3D printer I could print and use the hairdryer straight away. Unfortunately… :(
Luckily the 3D print community is rising. Loads of people offer their printer and make 3D printing also more accessible for everyone. For your nearest printer check 
One day later, Johan sent me the pickup info and with the new button we finally have dry hairs again. 

Grey button up (original) below replica ( 3D print)
Fully functioning hairdryer made in Mendrisio+3DP home made adaption = dry hairs

I used 3D printers for work making instruments which are low cost and flexible in their use. Now also in private I can say: we arrived in the future. A goose bump experience - going beyond the one when I got my first smartphone. Some mouse clicks on e.g.  or upload on the net and things work again. You can design your next lamp cap, or what ever your imagination allows to.

So, instead watching Netflix -  wake up and watch youtube how to make 3D designs.

Also don't forget the other things on your TODO list (click here) or see lekkersamenklooien

lekkersamenklooien poster download (click here

Climate change is a hot topic where consuming less meat or exchanging your SUV for a bike to work can make the difference. Now we also have another tool (more impact) to make a impact for a better planet: Instead of throw away and buy - Just repair, use state of the art tools such as 3D printing and reuse. It not that difficult and easier than ever !!

Especially when manufacturers have an open design and promote* to do so …

* by not providing spare parts  

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Alptal | THE GAME ...

Ever wanted to be in the Alptal...
Experience what it is like to be a hydrologist... 
Smell, hear, touch or dream about ... 
Fun and eemotions for young, old and all the family or your department... 

Alptal the GAME 

Developed with great care and expertise in the Alptal by ILR games. 

Whoever first crosses all obstacles in the Alptal, collects sample bottles with water  and reaches the finish first wins the game.
  • 1 Board
  • 16 different sample bottles
  • 1 dice
  • 1 Play instruction

Age:     4 - 99
Number of players:      2-16
item number: 00000001048    

To buy transfer money to hydrodroplets and click here to download.

Leonie, Rick, Michi and Ilja thanks for the great time in the Alptal and hope to play soon together.

Stand up for the clouds | especially for some happy rain clouds ...

Clouds are not only source of where all the excitement starts, but this video (click play below) also points on why we should consider clouds more often. For nice pics check cloudappreciationsociety 

Check out some happy rain clouds and hydrology sketches on this blog click pictures




For some music rainy music check:


Monday, 3 July 2017

update: ... Kaleidoscope

Hmmm ... in the end a shattered Kaleidoscope. 


A shame Sene etal N 2017 was not yet published during submission to cite:

 "Metrology is key to reproducing results ... Scientists of all stripes must work with measurement experts so that studies can be compared.  ... So what  can be done? One simple step would  be for funding bodies to involve more metrologists in project selection and assessment. This would encourage the funding of replication studies, help to ensure that financed studies use good metrological practice and set studies up to allow for future attempts at replication. Grants should assess ‘pathways to reproducibility’ along with ‘pathways to impact’. ...

see Nature  and replace in the text metrology by hydrology. A missed opportunity for the funding bodies of ..F and me. Well nxt time....

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Spring cleaning | 1000+ glass bottles | closing the water sampling circle ...

Like squirrels loads and loads of water samples were collected, analyzed and the boxes stored in the basement in case a re-analysis is necessary. Now with the new sampling season starting, already storage places are piling out and all shelf and cupboards are full with 250 and 20 ml bottles from old projects (20-ml glass vial with cap and additional Teflon/rubber septum) and 250 ml for hydrochemical analyses (250-ml PE bottle with cap): Furka, Rietholzbach, Hotzenwald, Reppisch , or see Fischer et al. HP 2015, Fischer et al. HR 2017 or Fischer et al. JOH 2017 (click link for more info).
Storage are piling out ...

Spring time is also cleaning time. In five steps the full "pizza" boxes were emptied into a big box  for transport ( see 1 |  loaded with fully to be discarded sample bottles of 20 ml;  AxBxC =  40x 42x60  cm ). How many  bottles of 15.7 g would be in the box ... (check later on ). In a #$@%$#@ job all caps were removed and disposed (see 2), the water was drained in the sink. All emptied bottles were sorted in a washing rack and submerged into washing basing with deionized water (see 3). The clean bottles were stored in a box, waiting for the drying in a oven at 105 deg C. After drying and cooling down, the clean bottles are packed for storage. Following the five step, 2.5 hours later ... bottles are ready for new water samples and loads of interesting stable isotope data.  Only new caps are needed + lots of taxpayers CHF saved :D

Five steps to clean bottles :) 

In theory also the caps could be recycled by peeling, in a cumbersome way, the rubber septa from the plastic cap. One reason way using new caps can be seen in the pic below. The broken caps were observed in 50 out of 1510±20 bottles and most likely caused by screwing the cap too firmly on the sample bottle. Expansion of the water during the warmer summer period  and plastic fatigue resulted in a failure of the cap (after +6 years of storage). Hence, nice fractionation. So be careful with caps and long time storage!!!!

Broken caps -> fractionation.  

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Morning ritual - Evaporation

Unfortunately in most cases we can see water change from liquid to vapor. However, morgenstund hat Gold im Mund, the early bird catches the worm or a hydrologist catches evaporation check the video with a cup of tea evaporating. Check the thin layer of condensation (whitish) on top the tea blown away ...

Have a nice day :)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

... +1 <:D update: 24.01.17 | Spatial variability in the isotopic composition of rainfall


Isotope hydrograph separation (IHS) is a valuable tool to study runoff generation processes. To perform an IHS, samples of baseflow (pre-event water) and streamflow are taken at the catchment outlet. For rainfall (event water) either a bulk sample is collected or it is sampled sequentially during the event. For small headwater catchment studies, event water samples are usually taken at only one sampling location in or near the catchment because the spatial variability in the isotopic composition of rainfall is assumed to be small. However, few studies have tested this assumption. In this study, we investigated the spatiotemporal variability in the isotopic composition of rainfall and its effects on IHS results using detailed measurements from a small pre-alpine headwater catchment in Switzerland. Rainfall was sampled sequentially at eight locations across the 4.3 km2 Zwäckentobel catchment and stream water was collected in three subcatchments (0.15, 0.23, and 0.70 km2) during ten events. The spatial variability in rainfall amount, average and maximum rainfall intensity and the isotopic composition of rainfall was different for each event. There was no significant relation between the isotopic composition of rainfall and total rainfall amount, rainfall intensity or elevation. For eight of the ten studied events the temporal variability in the isotopic composition of rainfall was larger than the spatial variability in the rainfall isotopic composition. The isotope hydrograph separation results, using only one rain sampler, varied considerably depending on which rain sampler was used to represent the isotopic composition of event water. The calculated minimum pre-event water contributions differed up to 60%. The differences were particularly large for events with a large spatial variability in the isotopic composition of rainfall and a small difference between the event and pre-event water isotopic composition. Our results demonstrate that even in small catchments the spatial variability in the rainfall isotopic composition can be significant and has to be considered for IHS studies. Using data from only one rain sampler can result in significant errors in the estimated pre-event water contributions to streamflow.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Automatic samplers and mountaineers ...

To use some sort of stimulating substances to increase the performance seems a wide spread phenomenon reading newspapers:
  • Cyclist
  • Students
  • Researchers (in best case coffee)

Now reading that even mountaineers (and those who want to be), can be added to the list. To get up to the higher elevations, beside O2 (most likely enriched 18O compared to surrounding composition), a quite a long list of stuff is used. In the NZZ article on drugs and mountaineering a reference was made to a nice study in plos. The study of Rohbach etal Plos 2016 used a cool sampling setup to monitor and prove one or several drugs in male "discharge", suggesting frequent drug use among climbers ascending Mont Blanc!!! Only a shame the team of Rohbach didn't use a lab in the field for continuous measurements and forgot to analyze the stable isotope composition of the water.

The automatic samplers collecting pristine streamwater e.g. Fischer et al. HR 2017 or Fischer et al. JoH 2017 are lucky to be out in a clean and fresh environment. Unfortunate are the automatic samplers which are used to sample sewerage systems e.g. Ort et al.  EST 2010  to investigate Sampling for Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) and Illicit Drugs in Wastewater Systems or the ingenious sampling setup of Rohbach check: 

Sampling setup of Rohbach et al. Plos 2016 using an automatic sampler. Poor PhD student who has to empty the sampler. 

Next time one (man/women) is on the toilet and hears a strange peristaltic pump type noise... most likely some body is investigating your coffee or ... consumption.


Fischer, B. M. C., Stähli, M., Seibert, J., Stahli, M., & Seibert, J. (2017). Pre-event water contributions to runoff events of different magnitude in pre-alpine headwaters. Hydrology Research, nh2016176.
Fischer, B. M. C., van Meerveld, H. J., & Seibert, J. (2017). Spatial variability in the isotopic composition of rainfall in a small headwater catchment and its effect on hydrograph separation. Journal of Hydrology.
Ort, C., Lawrence, M. G., Reungoat, J., & Mueller, J. F. (2010). Sampling for PPCPs in wastewater systems: comparison of different sampling modes and optimization strategies. Environ. Sci. Technol., 44(16), 6289–6296.
Robach P, Trebes G, Lasne F, Buisson C, Méchin N, Mazzarino M, et al. (2016) Drug Use on Mont Blanc: A Study Using Automated Urine Collection. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0156786. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156786

Alptal samplers:

Automatic water sampler in a pristine pre-alpine headwater catchment-WS07 (Fischer et al. HR2017)  

Although pristine waters, in case a colleague is using uranine as a fluro tracer to measure discharge the samples can get a bit yellow :S  

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Meteostation ...

Cleaning my c-disk I found an old picture I made a while ago of a sophisticated meteostation on a mountain in Switzerland - Prodkamm (1940 amsl). The hut ward uses the stone to see the weather + forecast it ? 

Some examples of the instructions for the weather stone include (from WIKI ):

  • If the rock is wet, it's raining.
  • If the rock is swinging, the wind is blowing.
  • If the rock casts a shadow, the sun is shining.
  • If the rock does not cast a shadow and is not wet, the sky is cloudy.
  • If the rock is not visible, it is foggy.
  • If the rock is white, it is snowing.
  • If the rock is coated with ice, there is a frost.
  • If the ice is thick, it's a heavy frost.
  • If the rock is bouncing, there is an earthquake.
  • If the rock is under water, there is a flood.
  • If the rock is warm, it is sunny.
  • If the rock is missing, there was a tornado.
  • If the rock is wet and swinging violently, there is a hurricane.
  • If the rock has white splats on it, watch out for birds.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The HAT...

Dear H2K colleagues:

Thanks a lot for ALL your help during these years and the great hat (lots of effort and great memories)!!!! Only slowly realizing how nice it was!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Big example for hydros...

If its true than its an big example for all hydrologist, from theory to confirmation!

<:D <:D Congrats <:D <:D

Tuesday, 22 December 2015