Monday, April 27, 2009

Moisture Content Trends

There are three types of "trend" sampling to consider in analyzing fuel moisture with the Computrac® Fuel Moisture Analyzer. The LONG-TERM trend involved primarily the sampling of green or living vegetation. Generally, moisture content changes relatively slowly in these materials, and weekly sampling at a pre-established time and location may be sufficient to plot these trends.

Dead fuels and some living fuels may exhibit diurnal or MEDIUM-TERM trends in moisture content. If you are interested in these changes, sample frequently to reflect these variations. Three times during a 24-hour period should be sufficient. Be sure to carefully stratify your sample.

Fine dead fuels (one hour time lag) represent the SHORT-TERM trend and the moisture content of these materials fluctuate continuously throughout the day and night. It is difficult to develop a trend for these fuels, but by sampling at the same location, and at the same time each day, a general trend may be established. This trend can be affected by minor changes in the weather and it may be useful to maintain a set of on-site notes on rainfall, cloud cover, relative humidity, etc., to accompany each day's fuel moisture sampling. This information can help explain changes in both short and long-term trends in fuel moisture.

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