Calibration and use of continuous heat-type automated seepage meters forsubmarine groundwater discharge (SGD) measurements

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Mwashote, BM, Burnett, WC, Chanton, J, Santos, IR, Dimova, N & Swarzenski, PW 2010, 'Calibration and use of continuous heat-type automated seepage meters forsubmarine groundwater discharge (SGD) measurements', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 87, no. 1, pp. 1-10.

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Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) assessments were conducted both in the laboratory and at a field site in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, using a continuous heat-type automated seepage meter (seepmeter). The functioning of the seepmeter is based on measurements of a temperature gradient in the water between downstream and upstream positions in its flow pipe. The device has the potential of providing long-term, high-resolution measurements of SGD. Using a simple inexpensive laboratory set-up, we have shown that connecting an extension cable to the seepmeter has a negligible effect on its measuring capability. Similarly, the observed influence of very low temperature (≤3 °C) on seepmeter measurements can be accounted for by conducting calibrations at such temperatures prior to field deployments. Compared to manual volumetric measurements, calibration experiments showed that at higher water flow rates (>28 cm day−1 or cm3 cm−2 day−1) an analog flowmeter overestimated flow rates by ≥7%. This was apparently due to flow resistance, turbulence and formation of air bubbles in the seepmeter water flow tubes. Salinity had no significant effect on the performance of the seepmeter. Calibration results from fresh water and sea water showed close agreement at a 95% confidence level significance between the data sets from the two media (R2 = 0.98). Comparatively, the seepmeter SGD measurements provided data that are comparable to manually-operated seepage meters, the radon geochemical tracer approach, and an electromagnetic (EM) seepage meter.

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