Peatlands in the mid to high latitudes of the northern hemisphere have been storing atmospheric carbon since the last ice age, locked away in the semi-decomposed remains of plants that form peat. Natural open-water pools are common features of many northern peatlands, and numerous artificial pools are being created during peatland restoration, significantly increasing the area of open water. Natural pools are known to be major sources of greenhouse gases, but the reasons they are such ‘hotspots’ is poorly understood. To find out more about these pools, and their role within the carbon cycle, leading scientists at the University of Leeds are carrying out research, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, over a three year period in northern Scotland.
Research into the processes operating in these pools requires continuous, accurate water level and temperature measurement over a prolonged period of time. The peatland pools are also situated in remote locations, making it difficult for the monitoring team to access them on a regular basis. For this reason, equipment with integral data logging and a large data storage capacity is required. The project also requires measurements to be taken at multiple sites simultaneously.
To fulfil the requirements set out in the research project, EMS specified the In-Situ Level TROLL 500, a vented level and temperature sensor. The Level TROLL 500 is part of a series of powerful level loggers capable of instrumenting water level, temperature and pressure. The Level TROLL 500 was particularly suitable for this application as it is designed to function uninterrupted during long term deployments. This is thanks to a corrosion resistant titanium body and efficient power usage. The 500 is also vented allowing for barometric pressure compensation and contains an on-board data logger capable of holding up to 130,000 readings.
Throughout the project, EMS helps the team within water@leeds, the world’s largest university-based interdisciplinary water research centre, with product and user support. This is important to ensure optimisation of the monitoring systems in place to deliver the very best results.
Although the project is still ongoing (set to finish in 2015), feedback has been positive. So far, each In-Situ Level TROLL 500 has spent over 10,000 hours in situ, and collected over 100,000 points of data.