Advances in Using Fiber-Optic Distributed Temperature Sensing to Identify the Mixing of Waters
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing (FO-DTS) provides thermal data through space and time along linear cables. When installed along a streambed, FO-DTS can capture the influence of upwelling groundwater (GW) as thermal anomalies. The planning of labor-intensive physical measurements can make use of FO-DTS data to target areas of focused GW discharge that can disproportionately affect surface-water (SW) quality and temperature. Typical longitudinal FO-DTS spatial resolution ranges 0.25 to1.0 m, and cannot resolve small-scale water-column mixing or sub-surface diurnal fluctuations. However, configurations where the cable is wrapped around rods can improve the effective vertical resolution to sub-centimeter scales, and the pipes can be actively heated to induce a thermal tracer. Longitudinal streambed and high-resolution vertical arrays were deployed at the upper Delaware River (PA, USA) and the Quashnet River (MA, USA) for aquatic habitat studies. The resultant datasets exemplify the varied uses of FO-DTS. Cold anomalies found along the Delaware River steambed coincide with zones of known mussel populations, and high-resolution vertical array data showed relatively stable in-channel thermal refugia. Cold anomalies at the Quashnet River identified in 2013 were found to persist in 2014, and seepage measurements and water samples at these locations showed high GW flux with distinctive chemistry. Cable location is paramount to seepage identification, particularly in faster flowing deep streams such as the Quashnet and Delaware Rivers where steambed FO-DTS identified many seepage zones with no surface expression. The temporal characterization of seepage dynamics are unique to FO-DTS. However, data from Tidmarsh Farms, a cranberry bog restoration site in MA, USA indicate that in slower flowing shallow steams GW inflow affects surface temperature; therefore infrared imaging can provide seepage location information similar to FO-DTS with substantially less effort.