Mesocosm experiments identifying hotspots of groundwater upwelling in a water column by fibre optic distributed temperature sensing

Amaya Irene Marruedo Arricibita*, Stefan Krause, Jesus Gomez-Velez, David M. Hannah, Jörg Lewandowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


Lacustrine groundwater discharge (LGD) can substantially impact ecosystem characteristics and functions. Fibre optic distributed temperature sensing (FO-DTS) has been successfully used to locate groundwater discharge into lakes and rivers at the sediment-water interface, but locating groundwater discharge would be easier if it could be detected from the more accessible water surface. So far, it is not clear if how and under which conditions the LGD signal propagates through the water column to the water surface-atmosphere interface, and what perturbations and signal losses occur along this pathway. In the present study, LGD was simulated in a mesocosm experiment. Under winter conditions, water with temperatures of 14 to 16 °C was discharged at the bottom of a 10 × 2.8-m mesocosm. Water within this mesocosm ranged from 4.0 to 7.4 °C. Four layers (20, 40, 60, and 80 cm above the sediment) of the 82 cm deep mesocosm were equipped with FO-DTS for tracing thermal patterns in the mesocosm. Aims are (a) to test whether the positive buoyancy of relatively warm groundwater imported by LGD into shallow water bodies allows detection of LGD at the lake's water surface-atmosphere interface by FO-DTS, (b) to analyse the propagation of the temperature signal from the sediment-water interface through the water column, and (c) to learn more about detectability of the signal under different discharge rates and weather conditions. The experiments supported the benchmarking of scale dependencies and robustness of FO-DTS applications for measuring upwelling into aquatic environments and revealed that weather conditions can have important impacts on the detection of upwelling at water surface-atmosphere interfaces at larger scales.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHydrological Processes
Early online date16 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2017


  • Driver
  • FO-DTS
  • Heat tracer
  • Interface
  • Jet
  • Lake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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