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Sensors 2013, 13(10), 13779-13801; doi:10.3390/s131013779
Article

A Buoy for Continuous Monitoring of Suspended Sediment Dynamics

1,* , 1
, 2
 and 1
Received: 29 July 2013; in revised form: 5 September 2013 / Accepted: 25 September 2013 / Published: 14 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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Abstract: Knowledge of Suspended Sediments Dynamics (SSD) across spatial scales is relevant for several fields of hydrology, such as eco-hydrological processes, the operation of hydrotechnical facilities and research on varved lake sediments as geoarchives. Understanding the connectivity of sediment flux between source areas in a catchment and sink areas in lakes or reservoirs is of primary importance to these fields. Lacustrine sediments may serve as a valuable expansion of instrumental hydrological records for flood frequencies and magnitudes, but depositional processes and detrital layer formation in lakes are not yet fully understood. This study presents a novel buoy system designed to continuously measure suspended sediment concentration and relevant boundary conditions at a high spatial and temporal resolution in surface water bodies. The buoy sensors continuously record turbidity as an indirect measure of suspended sediment concentrations, water temperature and electrical conductivity at up to nine different water depths. Acoustic Doppler current meters and profilers measure current velocities along a vertical profile from the water surface to the lake bottom. Meteorological sensors capture the atmospheric boundary conditions as main drivers of lake dynamics. It is the high spatial resolution of multi-point turbidity measurements, the dual-sensor velocity measurements and the temporally synchronous recording of all sensors along the water column that sets the system apart from existing buoy systems. Buoy data collected during a 4-month field campaign in Lake Mondsee demonstrate the potential and effectiveness of the system in monitoring suspended sediment dynamics. Observations were related to stratification and mixing processes in the lake and increased turbidity close to a catchment outlet during flood events. The rugged buoy design assures continuous operation in terms of stability, energy management and sensor logging throughout the study period. We conclude that the buoy is a suitable tool for continuous monitoring of suspended sediment concentrations and general dynamics in fresh water bodies.
Keywords: buoy; monitoring; suspended sediments; lake; turbidity; connectivity buoy; monitoring; suspended sediments; lake; turbidity; connectivity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mueller, P.; Thoss, H.; Kaempf, L.; Güntner, A. A Buoy for Continuous Monitoring of Suspended Sediment Dynamics. Sensors 2013, 13, 13779-13801.

AMA Style

Mueller P, Thoss H, Kaempf L, Güntner A. A Buoy for Continuous Monitoring of Suspended Sediment Dynamics. Sensors. 2013; 13(10):13779-13801.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mueller, Philip; Thoss, Heiko; Kaempf, Lucas; Güntner, Andreas. 2013. "A Buoy for Continuous Monitoring of Suspended Sediment Dynamics." Sensors 13, no. 10: 13779-13801.



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