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Underwater temperature data loggers deployed in arctic climate change research

Tinytag temperature data loggers were located in an Arctic glacial river basin as part of an important research project into climate change.

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.

Tinytag Aquatic underwater temperature data loggers for climate change research

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 by glacier.

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 fluctuations.

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.

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