Climate change is affecting the natural environment around the globe. The north is warming at a much faster rate than the rest of the world and severely influencing plants, animals and humans alike. Temperature monitoring allows researchers to understand the impacts to species living in various environments, providing important data to be used as part of the solution to climate change.
Waterways (Lakes, Rivers, Streams, Oceans)
Monitoring of waterways can be done for the purpose of understanding temperature profiles for situations such as:
- Fish habitat impacts due to climate change
- Lake turnover
- Algae bloom monitoring
- Ice build up and thaw
- Beaver dam impacts downstream
- Industrial impacts on near-by waterways
Monitoring can consist of temperature sensors placed on the bottom, embedded in the bed or floating from the surface, depending on the application. The D605 data logger can be installed on the shore when practical or a Buoy Logger can be used to float within the body of water.
As the climate warms, especially in the north where it is warming at a much faster rate than the rest of the world, understanding the impacts on permafrost is vital for scientists. Permafrost thaw not only impacts local communities, infrastructure and natural habitats but also releases greenhouse gas (GHG) from decomposing organic matter that had been previously frozen for thousands of years. Permafrost thaw acts as a positive feedback loop whereby it increases the GHG in the atmosphere, which warms the climate, which then leads to more permafrost thaw and the cycle repeats.
Understanding the temperature profile of the permafrost and monitoring changes over time can allow for a better understanding of current conditions and aid in forecasting future conditions. Temperature cables or probes are installed in drill holes within the permafrost, through the active layer and into the frozen ground below. The depths can extend from a few feet or meters through to hundreds of feet or meters as required.
As with monitoring permafrost, understanding the frozen water on this planet is a critical part of understanding the potential impacts of climate change. The same warming that is impacting permafrost is melting the northern and southern pole glaciers and sea-ice and all of the alpine glaciers in-between at alarming rates. The melt will cause the sea level to rise, impacting low-level communities and habitats around the world.
The warming trends also impact winter over-land transportation in the north between remote communities and on traditional lands, which impact indigenous traditional ways of life. The window for safely traveling over rivers and lands is becoming shorter as the climate warms.
Temperature profiling can aid in understanding how fast the cryosphere is warming in comparison to air temperature data. Temperature cables or probes are typically installed within the depth of interest to understand the impacts of the air temperature during various times of the year and forecast future trends.
Temperature sensors can be used to monitor the build up of the snowpack in avalanche prone areas and provide useful inputs into avalanche forecasting activities. Prior to snowfall, a string of closely spaced sensors is hung from a post that extends beyond the expected snow pack height. As each sensor is covered in snow, the data it provides can be used to understand the local conditions.
Information gained from monitoring the snowpack temperature profile include:
- Near surface snow gradients
- Mid and full pack snow gradients
- Spring time changes
- Soil temperature fluctuations
- Snow depth
- Near surface air gradients
- Sky cover information
- Settlement rates
- Surface snow conditions
Related Case Studies
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