Fiber‐optic distributed temperature sensing: A new tool for assessment and monitoring of hydrologic processes

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Abstract

Fiber‐optic distributed temperature sensing (FO DTS) is an emerging technology for characterizing and monitoring a wide range of important earth processes. FO DTS utilizes laser light to measure temperature along the entire length of standard telecommunications optical fibers. The technology can measure temperature every meter over FO cables up to 30 kilometers (km) long. Commercially available systems can measure fiber temperature as often as 4 times per minute, with thermal precision ranging from 0.1 to 0.01 °C depending on measurement integration time. In 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey initiated a project to demonstrate and evaluate DTS as a technology to support hydrologic studies. This paper demonstrates the potential of the technology to assess and monitor hydrologic processes through case‐study examples of FO DTS monitoring of stream‐aquifer interaction on the Shenandoah River near Locke's Mill, Virginia, and on Fish Creek, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and estuary‐aquifer interaction on Waquoit Bay, Falmouth, Massachusetts. The ability to continuously observe temperature over large spatial scales with high spatial and temporal resolution provides a new opportunity to observe and monitor a wide range of hydrologic processes with application to other disciplines including hazards, climate‐change, and ecosystem monitoring.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Fiber‐optic distributed temperature sensing: A new tool for assessment and monitoring of hydrologic processes
DOI 10.4133/1.2963272
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Contributing office(s) OGW Branch of Geophysics
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2008
First page 318
Last page 326