Groundwater Videos

Dr Scott W Tyler: Application of fibre-optic sensing for measurement of Antarctic ice shelf and sub-ice shelf ocean dynamics

Presented by: Dr Scott Tyler

Monitoring of the ice shelf and sub-ice shelf ocean temperatures represents an important component towards understanding ice sheet stability and the potential for rapid sea level rise. Continuous monitoring is challenging due to difficult surface access, the difficulties to penetrate through the ice shelf, and the need for the long term operation of non-recoverable sensors. During November 2011, two instrumented moorings were installed through the Ross Ice Shelf of Antarctica at Windless Bight to develop rapid, light-weight drilling and near-continuous fiber-optic temperature monitoring methods. A combination of ice coring for the upper portion of each shelf borehole,followed by a hot-point drill for penetration into the ocean, was employed.

The boreholes provided temporary access to the ice-shelf cavity, into which Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) fiber-optic cables and conventional pressure/temperature transducers were installed. The DTS moorings provided near-continuous in time and depth (1-m interval) observations of ice and ocean temperatures to a depth of almost 800 m beneath the ice-shelf surface.

This talk will include an overview of DTS physics, followed by a detailed look at the installation methods, instrument package design, mooring cable design, power supply and challenges that arose during the year long deployment, as well as a discussion of the data processing tools used, and the observations to date. In closing, Dr Tyler will give examples of several related DTS experiments in snow dynamics,aquatic ecosystem restoration and soil moisture monitoring.

Dr Scott Tyler is a Foundation Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of Nevada, Reno with appointments in the Department of Geologic Sciences and Engineering and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is the director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs; a community instrument facility for DTS. He is past editor of Water Resources Research, former chair of the Geologic Society of America’s Hydrogeology Division and incoming chairman of the board for the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences.

Dr Tyler is currently on sabbatical leave at the University of Western Australia with the Centre for Ecohydrology in the School of Environmental Systems Engineering.