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© Ruiliang Lin, All rights reserved

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© Peter Gallinelli, All rights reserved

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© Peter Gallinelli, All rights reserved

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A smart autonomous CTD probe for water body mapping

Peter Gallinelli

Haute école spécialisée de Suisse occidentale - HES-SO

Lay summary

CTD probes measure conductivity, temperature and depth of water bodies. They are suitable to establish temperature and salinity profiles in a water column. Among many other applications, this information is useful to reconstruct the fluid dynamics downstream of marine glacier outlets or to identify and locate submarine geothermal sources that contain unique ecosystems that provide keys to understanding evolution in the face of climate change. A recurring difficulty in deploying CTD probes is the need for a stable, stationary floating platform. This requirement leads to significant vessel downtime costs and biases caused by the inevitable drift while deploying the probe. This project provides for the development of an automatic, towable and adaptable CTD probe. By towing it behind a vessel, a significantly larger area of sea can be covered in a given time. A hydrodynamic mechanism controlling successive up and down cycles will allow the probe to monitor the entire water column. The position is geo-referenced by a global navigation satellite system ( “GNSS" ) each time the probe surfaces; measurement points can thus be mapped by interpolation, allowing the construction of 2D transects or complete 3D models from a set of parallel transits in a given water body. The probe will be made available as an open source shuttle. This will allow for easy adaptation of the system to missions that go beyond the basic functions of a conventional CTD probe by allowing the observation of countless physical, chemical or biological parameters.

Image 1 : showing the fully assembled probe during testing at the towing tank facility at HEPIA, September 2022

Image 2 : showing the probe prototype during first real world trials on Lake of Geneva, September 2022

Fig. 1 : CTD probe dive profiles from lake trials showing successive dive cycles, October 2022

Details

Regional focus Marine glacier heads, Arctic fjords, alpine and Arctic high altitude lakes
Location Arctic
Funded amount 86,000 CHF
Project dates 1st April 2022 – 31st March 2023
Category SPI Technogrants
Keywords
marine environment monitoring, thermocline, halocline, fresh water glacier discharge, 3d water body monitoring