Located 200km north of the Arctic Circle, submersible Tinytag data loggers were part of a research project studying river basin water temperature dynamics, with the intention of understanding the impacts of climate change on Arctic river basin hydrology and ecology.
Dr David M. Hannah at the School of Geography, Earth and
Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (UK), is one of
the leading authorities on hydroclimatology; a scientific
discipline which seeks to understand the relationship between
climate and surface waters (including rivers, and water stored as
snow and ice).
This ongoing research in Swedish Lapland is in collaboration
with Dr Alexander Milner and Mr Chris Mellor (also at University of
Birmingham, UK). In a recent project, Drs Hannah and Milner
deployed numerous Tinytag data loggers into rivers in Svalbard: an
area covering 63,000sq.km and made up of a group of islands between
74° - 81° N and 10° - 35° E; 60% of which at the time was covered
The submersible Tinytag data loggers were positioned just above
the river bed. Their role was to monitor the water column
temperature and it's dynamics over the summer melt season and also
over winter. The loggers were pre-set with a 15-minute logging
interval; minimum user intervention was required after that. The
subsequent readings provided the team with vital information on
river temperature variability and also allowed for inference of
river flow conditions and ecological importance of temperature
Prior to the research project, Dr David Hannah commented:
"The loggers have to withstand extreme conditions including
river icing events and high flows (floods). As the summer melt
season is short, it is crucial that data is gathered accurately and
that nothing goes wrong with our equipment. Tinytags, which I have
previously used for other environmental research in the UK and
worldwide, are tough and reliable."
The data was downloaded onto a laptop on site using an inductive
pad which proved to be a practical and efficient solution in
extremely cold, wet and uncomfortable conditions. The data was then
displayed using Tinytag Explorer software. This generates easy to
read and smooth graphs showing peaks and drops in temperature over
the period of measurement.
Research of river thermal dynamics has focussed on glaciered
basins due to the high sensitivity of these systems to climate
change and variability. In a complex field, Tinytag data loggers
offer simple but highly effective monitoring technology.