The MacGyver session for innovative and/or self made tools to observe the geosphere

The MacGyver session focuses on novel sensors made, or data sources unlocked, by scientists. All geoscientists are invited to present:
- new sensor systems, using technologies in novel or unintended ways,
- new data storage or transmission solutions sending data from the field with LoRa, WIFI, GSM, or any other nifty approach,
- started initiatives (e.g., Open-Sensing.org) that facilitate the creation and sharing of novel sensors, data acquisition and transmission systems.

Connected a sensor for iPhone to an Arduino or Raspberri Pi? 3D printed an automated water quality sampler? Or build a Cloud Storage system from Open Source Components? Show it!

New methods in hydrology, plant physiology, seismology, remote sensing, ecology, etc. are all welcome. Bring prototypes and demonstrations to make this the most exciting Poster Only (!) session of the General Assembly.

This session is co-sponsered by MOXXI, the working group on novel observational methods of the IAHS.

Co-organized by BG2
Convener: Rolf Hut | Co-conveners: Theresa Blume, Marvin ReichECSECS, Andrew Wickert
vPICO presentations
| Mon, 26 Apr, 15:30–17:00 (CEST)

vPICO presentations: Mon, 26 Apr

Chairperson: Rolf Hut
Eva Loerke, Mark E. Wilkinson, Ina Pohle, David Drummond, and Josie Geris

Water temperature is one of the key factors controlling aquatic ecosystems and influencing physical, chemical and biological processes. Detailed observations of spatial and temporal patterns in water temperature are important for assessing e.g. variations in thermal refugia, impacts of climate change and for developing appropriate management strategies. Freshwater  temperatures are still mostly analysed based on single point measurements, but these do not reflect the spatial thermal variability within waterbodies (i.e. stream and lake) and therefore could lack information on thermal refugia. 2-D images of freshwater temperature in varying spatial resolution are increasingly obtained by space- and airborne methods such as UAV (unmanned aircraft vehicles). While these UAV methods offer the necessary spatial resolution at the surface, they require in situ measurements to obtain absolute temperature values and don’t provide information on vertical thermal variability. Approaches that bridge this gap do exist (e.g. fibreoptic cables), but high demand on resources and high costs limit widespread use.

The aim of this work was to develop a low-cost, custom-build, fully flexible 3-D temperature sensor system that can be used for calibration and validation of thermal UAV observations, but also adds information on water temperature with depth. The design of our floating sensor system (with a maximum of 72 sensors) offers high flexibility in horizontal/vertical spacing and logging time intervals (ms to h). Here we present the first results of our prototype, which was calibrated using Solinst Leveloggers (accuracy ± 0.05ºC) and tested under various ambient conditions, both in the laboratory and in a lab-in-field experiment in a relatively shallow lake (maximum measurement depth of 1.50 m) in NE Scotland. We also evaluated the use of this system with UAV imagery at the lake.

The results show a quick response of the individual sensors to temperature changes and indicate suitability of the system for validating and calibrating thermal UAV images. For a set-up with 12 vertical arrays (6 sensors at different depths for each array) and arranged as a grid, preliminary data indicated the value for a 3-D approach as not all thermal patterns at depth were captured by surface measurements. Next, the transferability of the sensor system to a stream will be tested and applied to a stream water management case. Together with UAV thermal imagery, the new sensor system could have the potential for a wide range of research and management applications (e.g. thermal habitats, groundwater upwelling, infiltration of cooling water).

How to cite: Loerke, E., Wilkinson, M. E., Pohle, I., Drummond, D., and Geris, J.: A new low-cost approach to 3-D water temperature monitoring, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1120, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-1120, 2021.

Evangelos Skoubris and George Hloupis

Among all natural disasters, river floods are becoming increasingly frequent. They present high risk and their impact can be fairly destructive and of strong economic, health, and social importance. Key tools to avoid their catastrophic results are the Early Warning Systems (EWS). An EWS usually monitors various physical quantities through a specific hardware, and produce data which after certain processing can detect and estimate the level of the risk.

In the current work we present the concept, the design, the application, and some preliminary data regarding a low cost imaging node, part of an EWS aimed for river floods. This EWS consists of various sensing nodes which are mainly equipped with water presence detectors, water level meters, water temperature sensors, along with the necessary networking capability. The novelty of this new node design is that it utilizes a VGA resolution camera which captures still images of a view of interest. The latter can be for example an implementation prone to defects in case of flood, such as a river basin level road crossing, or a bridge. The images can also provide constant monitoring of the river basin state, i.e. to detect the presence of any unwanted objects (waste or other natural & artificial bring materials). Through image processing the images can even provide some coarse data, i.e. water level measurements by utilizing vertical stripped rods within the field of view of the camera.

The ability to have a camera usually counteracts the IoT characteristics of an electronic device. Nevertheless, in this design the IoT character of the node was not constrained. The nodes have extended power autonomy (several months via Li-Ion battery, optionally solar rechargeable), present a small size, each node is network independent using GSM and LoRaWAN technology. The data usage is minimized by uploading only 2 QVGA images per day in normal operation (can be increased to a maximum of 48 VGA images per day, if required). In case of risk detection the node also supports the actuation of a local warning sign.

How to cite: Skoubris, E. and Hloupis, G.: An Imaging Capable, Low Cost IoT Node for River Flood Phenomena, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1530, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-1530, 2021.

Matthew Wilkinson, Michael Bell, Thomas Baer, and Georgios Xenakis

International attempts to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, aimed at stabilizing human induced climate change, require a detailed understanding of the current and potential future role of forests to sequester carbon. Accurate, high frequency and reliable measurements are therefore vital in developing effective mitigation strategies and help to improve understanding of the other ecosystem services provided by forests which are valued by society. However, forests are typically located in remote, rural environments which can make regular access for surveyors and other forest scientists challenging and logistically difficult. In 2020, Forest Research worked in partnership with the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Vodafone to explore how Internet of things (IoT) technology can be used to improve environmental and forest monitoring and to test its suitability at remote rural locations in the UK. A pilot study which ran at Forest Research’s two contrasting long-term carbon flux sites, Alice Holt (Hampshire) and Harwood (Northumberland) used IoT technology to measure and transmit high frequency growth and environmental data over the course on an entire growing season. Tree growth sensors (automated dendrometers) and a range of other environmental sensors (e.g. air temperature and  humidity, soil moisture) attached to the trees and in the soil (nine replicates per site), were connected to the Vodafone Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network. Data was uploaded every 15 minutes to a Grafana based online web portal, providing researchers with near real time access to the data.  Here we present results from these two sites, details of the hardware used in these new devices and evaluation of their performance during this pilot study.

How to cite: Wilkinson, M., Bell, M., Baer, T., and Xenakis, G.: Measuring and monitoring trees and forests using a novel IoT approach, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-887, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-887, 2021.

Nick van de Giesen, Rolf Hut, and Dirk van der Lubbe - Sanjuan

Over the past years, simple acoustic drop detectors have been developed for different objectives. The core of these detectors were standard piezoelectric elements. For some applications, such as simply counting drops, not much signal processing is needed. For other applications, however, such as measurement of drop energy, which would allow for estimation of drop sizes as well, careful signal processing is needed. For this purpose, we have developed a shield, or “Wing” that can be plugged into an Adafruit Feather (https://www.adafruit.com/feather), which we call DisdroWing. This board includes a high-end operational amplifier and a fast analogue to digital converter. With this board, the user can experiment and implement specific applications, such as rain/no rain detection, hail detection, or drop energy. The design of the DisdroWing is publicly available and can also be purchased fully assembled.

How to cite: van de Giesen, N., Hut, R., and van der Lubbe - Sanjuan, D.: Open source hardware for counting and measuring raindrops, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2289, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-2289, 2021.

Jana von Freyberg, Julia L. A. Knapp, Andrea Rücker, Bjørn Studer, Massimiliano Zappa, and James W. Kirchner

Off-the-shelf portable automatic water samplers, such as the 6712 full-size portable sampler (Teledyne ISCO, Lincoln, USA), are often used in remote locations to collect precipitation or streamwater for subsequent analysis of deuterium and oxygen-18.  The bottles inside these automatic samplers remain open during the full duration of sampler deployment and the collected water samples can thus be subjected to evaporation and vapor exchange.  Both processes are known to alter the isotope composition of the water sample, and thus the questions arise as to 1) how credible the isotope measurements from automatically collected water samples are and 2) how can these isotope effects in the automatic water sampler be reduced?

We evaluated these questions through laboratory and field experiments in which we quantified the change in isotope composition in the water samples with respect to ambient conditions (air temperature and relative humidity), storage duration, and sample volume.  We found that isotope fractionation in the water samples was substantial under very warm and dry condition, when sample volumes are small or when sample storage exceeded 10 days.  To address these problems, we have designed an evaporation protection method which modifies autosampler bottles using a syringe housing and silicone tube.  We performed paired experiments with open vs. evaporation-protected bottles in Teledyne ISCO 6712 full-size portable samplers to evaluate our design.  We could show that the evaporation protection successfully reduced isotope fractionation in the water samples for storage durations of up to 24 days and for a wide range of ambient conditions; e.g., while deuterium concentrations in the water samples in open bottles changed by ca. 3‰ under very warm and dry conditions, no isotope effect was measured in the bottles equipped with the evaporation protection. Because our design is very cost efficient it can easily be implemented to upgrade Teledyne ISCO’s 6712 full-size portable samplers or other similar devices for collecting more reliable isotope data.

How to cite: von Freyberg, J., Knapp, J. L. A., Rücker, A., Studer, B., Zappa, M., and Kirchner, J. W.: An easy-to-use, low-cost evaporation protection to collect more reliable stable water isotope data with Teledyne ISCO portable samplers, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2764, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-2764, 2021.

Caroline Spill, Lukas Ditzel, Nora Brumm, Julia Böhm, and Matthias Gassmann

Sewage overflows in headwater catchments are critical, mostly not well monitored point sources for many pollutants such as oxygen depleting substances, pharmaceuticals or heavy metals. The outlets are often located at places where no connection to the power grid is available, hence it is often necessary to provide deployed sensors or sampling devices with mobile power sources like car-batteries. In addition, autosamplers or on-line sensors are expensive devices. For these reasons, a proper monitoring strategy, including water quality parameters in these structures is often complicated to implement and from an economical point of view not reasonable. Therefore, we combined two low-budget DIY devices, a modified Zurich sequential sampler for time-discrete rainfall samples and Stream Temperature, Intermittency, and Conductivity loggers (STIC), to build a low-budget monitoring system being able to take time-discrete samples from sewage overflow. Our modified sampler collects 12 samples in a row, with variable volumes from 0.25 to 0.5 L. In each bottle a STIC was implemented. The STICs start to measure a conductivity higher than zero as soon as water starts to flow into the bottle. This allows for a clear assignment between sample and time. We called this sampler the Sewage Overflow Monitoring Sampler (SOMS).

Though the probe volume and the time period for sampling is strongly limited, concentration variations, including peak concentrations, in sewage overflows are expected to be measured right at the beginning of an event (first flush) and should be therefore covered by the sampler. First laboratory tests were successful. In the next step the monitoring system will be implemented on a field side.

Depending on the scientific question of the study, the SOMS can be complemented in the field by either another STIC logger or a pressure probe. The STIC logger is located at the bottom of the canal. This allows the detection of the duration of the overflow event. By installing a pressure probe the discharge can be approximated as long as gradient and the geometry of the canal is known.

How to cite: Spill, C., Ditzel, L., Brumm, N., Böhm, J., and Gassmann, M.: Low-Budget Sewage Overflow Monitoring, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8325, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-8325, 2021.

Martin Fencl and Vojtech Bares

Water vapour observations represent an important input e.g. for predicting mesoscale initiation of convective precipitation or estimating evapotranspiration. E-band commercial microwave links (CMLs), which are increasingly used in cellular backhaul, might be used as unintentional water vapour sensors accessible remotely from a network operation centre. E-band CMLs operate at frequencies between 71 and 86 GHz where water vapour causes substantial attenuation of electromagnetic waves. This attenuation can be related to water vapour density along a CML path, nevertheless, it has to be properly separated from other sources of attenuation, especially rainfall-induced attenuation, and wet antenna attenuation caused by wet surface of antenna radomes. Moreover, the relation between attenuation and water vapour density is also dependent on temperature (Fencl et al., 2020).

This contribution evaluates capability to estimate water vapour density on a 4.86 km long full-duplex CML being operated within cellular backhaul at frequencies 73.5 GHz and 83.5 GHz. Three rain gauges are deployed along its path, two of them being equipped with an air humidity sensor. The evaluation period is between August to December 2018. The results show that estimation of water vapour density is feasible when there is now rain and antenna radomes are dry, which is only about 50% of time. Estimated water vapour density during dry weather is highly correlated with humidity observations (r = 0.7). The highest correlations are observed during summer season (r = 0.9) and lowest during December (r = 0.3) when amplitude of water vapour fluctuations are small. In contrast, mean absolute error is highest during August (approx. 1 g/m3) and lowest in December (0.2 g/m3). Most of the outliers were encountered during October, probably due to multipath inferences occurring during clear-sky conditions.

Unintentional sensing of water vapour density with E-band CMLs is feasible by sufficiently (several kilometres) long CMLs. Currently, 20 % of new CML deployments are operated E-band. E-band CMLs might thus greatly increase continental coverage of water vapour ground observations.


Fencl, M., Dohnal, M., Valtr, P., Grabner, M. and Bareš, V.: Atmospheric observations with E-band microwave links – challenges and opportunities, Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 13(12), 6559–6578, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-13-6559-2020, 2020.

How to cite: Fencl, M. and Bares, V.: Water vapour monitoring with E-band microwave links of cellular backhaul, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8384, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-8384, 2021.

Jean-Luc Fuda, Stéphanie Barrillon, Andrea Doglioli, Anne Petrenko, Gerald Gregori, Roxanne Tzortzis, Caroline Comby, Melilotus Thyssen, Michel Lafont, Nagib Bhairy, Denis Malengros, Dorian Guillemain, and Chistian Grenz

Compared to horizontal components, the vertical components of ocean currents are generally very weak (a few mm/s) in all oceanic regions of the world. Due to their major role in the vertical distribution of physical and biogeochemical properties of sea water, their extended knowledge is of utmost importance for oceanographers. However, their in-situ measurement represents a real technical challenge, even using sophisticated instruments such as ADCPs.

As a complement to the ADCP method presented in another session (Comby et al.), we have developed an original alternative instrument, called the VVP (Vertical Velocity Profiler). It was inspired by several published works which exploit the difference between the real vertical speed Wr of a submarine glider (~dP/dt, from the onboard pressure sensor) and its theoretical vertical speed Wth extracted from a flight model. The oceanic vertical speed Woc is thus expressed by the simple difference Woc = Wr - Wth at any  point in the water column.

The very first prototype of the VVP consisted of a float and a friction disc, ballasted to sink at a very low speed (~ 0.1 m / s) and dragged down to the desired depth by a dead-weight which was automatically released after a suitable delay. The release system was developped in-house (patent filled in March 2020), based on a textured insert trapped in a volume of ice melting at controlled speed. Since then, the concept of the profiler has evolved considerably. The last design uses an electric thruster that drives the profiler down to a predefined setpoint depth. Once the depth is reached, the thruster is stopped and the profiler then rises slowly (~0.1 m/s) to the surface under the sole effect of its slightly positive buoyancy. The mechanical balance between buoyancy and hydrodynamic drag results in a constant vertical speed of ascent in water at rest. Any deviation from this constant speed is then interpreted as an oceanic  vertical velocity signal. This new design allows a very large number of consecutive profiles to be collected, the number of descent-ascent cycles and the setpoint depth being programmed and controlled using an ARDUINO microcontroller board. The selected Li-Io battery allows for several hours of continuous profiling.  When on surface, the profiler is currently located by a commercial GPS tracker integrated into the electronic case. The vertical velocity of the profiler is accurately measured at  high frequency (2Hz) thanks to the fast-response pressure sensor of the onboard RBR-CONCERTO autonomous CTD, which also measures the sea water density involved in  drag and buoyancy.

Trials both in deep pool and in the field are scheduled in spring 2021 in order to refine the prototype design and to definitely set the flight model parameters. This development benefits from CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) financial support in the framework of the BIOSWOT international program.

How to cite: Fuda, J.-L., Barrillon, S., Doglioli, A., Petrenko, A., Gregori, G., Tzortzis, R., Comby, C., Thyssen, M., Lafont, M., Bhairy, N., Malengros, D., Guillemain, D., and Grenz, C.: A new approch for measuring ocean vertical velocities, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9371, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9371, 2021.

Carlos Rodero, Raul Bardaji, Joaquin Salvador, Estrella Olmedo, and Jaume Piera

Measuring water transparency allows us to monitor the water body's environmental status. One parameter to estimate water transparency is the light diffuse attenuation coefficient (Kd). This coefficient is of particular interest in water quality monitoring programs.

The Kd describes the light extinction as function as the depth of downwelling irradiance, Ed. However, self-shading by the instrument itself can cause errors in Ed estimations. To avoid this effect, relative complex structures must be required to install the sensors that limit the vertical resolution of Ed measurements. Here we propose to use optical sensors in an annular-shape distribution to mitigate these limitations. For this, we introduce a new concept: the annular irradiance, Ea. We first compute the optimal angle to avoid self-shading while maximizing the light captured by the sensor. Second, we assess the robustness of the corresponding diffuse attenuation coefficient, Ka, in different scenarios of water types, solar angle and cloud coverage. Finally, we correlate Ka measurements with Kd at PAR region, and we derive empirical functions from translating Ka to Kd measurements.      

This new coefficient is the basis of the new generation of the KdUINO instrument  (Bardaji et al., 2016) as a KduSTICK, which estimates the near-surface light extinction coefficient based on Ka measurements. Since the design of the instrument avoids self-shading, the device is expected to be particularly useful in those underwater environments where high vertical Ed resolution is required.

Furthermore, instruments based on this light-sensing approach are much simpler to deploy and maintain, and it is possible to design low-cost and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) versions. All these features facilitate its use for non-academic users, making the KduSTICK an optimal instrument to be used in Citizen Science water quality monitoring programs.

How to cite: Rodero, C., Bardaji, R., Salvador, J., Olmedo, E., and Piera, J.: Underwater annular irradiance: New concept to measure the light diffuse attenuation coefficient through the KduSTICK, a Do-It-Yourself device, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9421, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-9421, 2021.

Simone Noto, Flavia Tauro, Andrea Petroselli, Ciro Apollonio, Gianluca Botter, and Salvatore Grimaldi

Monitoring ephemeral and intermittent streams is a major challenge in hydrology. While direct field observations are best to detect spatial patterns of flow persistence, on site inspections are time and labor intensive and may be impractical in difficult-to-access environments. Motivated by latest advancements of digital cameras and computer vision techniques, in this work, we describe the development and application of a stage-camera system to monitor the water level in ungauged headwater streams. The system encompasses a consumer grade wildlife camera with near infrared (NIR) night vision capabilities and a white pole that serves as reference object in the collected images. Time-lapse imagery is processed through a computationally inexpensive algorithm featuring image quantization and binarization, and water level time series are filtered through a simple statistical scheme. The feasibility of the approach is demonstrated through a set of benchmark experiments performed in controlled and natural settings, characterized by an increased level of complexity. Maximum mean absolute errors between stage-camera and reference data are approximately equal to 2 cm in the worst scenario that corresponds to severe hydrometeorological conditions. Our preliminary results are encouraging and support the scalability of the stage camera in future implementations in a wide range of natural settings.

How to cite: Noto, S., Tauro, F., Petroselli, A., Apollonio, C., Botter, G., and Grimaldi, S.: Continuous water level monitoring using time-lapse imagery, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10906, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10906, 2021.

Ioannis Daliakopoulos, Dimitrios Papadimitriou, and Thrassyvoulos Manios

Soil water characteristic curve (SWCC) is a critical relationship with application in drainage, irrigation, soil physical behavior, and modeling water and nutrient transport. However, constructing the SWCC is tedious, time consuming, and often inaccurate. Recently, METER Group, Inc. (USA) introduced the HYPROP2© measurement system which allows semi-automated direct measurements of water retention and conductivity pairs over a relatively wide range of pressure head values using the Extended Evaporation Method (EEM) (Schindler et al., 2010). Nevertheless, even with HYPROP, depending on soil type, measurement of the characteristic curve under ambient conditions requires from 2 (clay) to 10 days (peat and sand) (Schindler et al., 2010). To expedite the method, here we propose a modification of HYPROP that facilitates consistent temperature and air flow around and over the soil sample ring to ensure constant evaporation from the soil sample. The prototype regulates soil sample temperature using two 5X10 cm heating pads (SparkFun Electronics, USA) insulated with glass fiber belt around the sample ring. Air flow is regulated by a blushless 40x40x10 mm fan (SparkFun Electronics, USA) mounted over the HYPROP apparatus. Temperature and fan speed are regulated by a DC step down module based on the LM2596 Simple Switcher® Power Converter (Texas Instruments, USA). All parts are 5 VDC and can be conveniently powered by USB. Here we compare the time required for HYPROP to estimate the SWCC curve for two hydroponic substrates (cocodust and perlite) and show that the resulting curve is identical, while the time required to process the sample is significantly reduced. These results, as well as extensive testing conducted by Daliakopoulos et al. (2020) and Papadimitriou et al. (2020) show that the HYPROP method can greatly benefit in terms of efficiency from including a similar system to control the evaporation rate.


Daliakopoulos, I.Ν., Papadimitriou, D., Matsoukas, T., Zotos, N., Moysiadis, H., Anastasopoulos, K., Mavrogiannis, I., Manios, T., 2020. Development and Preliminary Results from the Testbed Infrastructure of the DRIP Project. Proceedings 30, 64. https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019030064

Papadimitriou, D., Kontaxakis, E., Daliakopoulos, I., Manios, T., Savvas, D., 2020. Effect of N:K Ratio and Electrical Conductivity of Nutrient Solution on Growth and Yield of Hydroponically Grown Golden Thistle (Scolymus hispanicus L.). Proceedings 30, 87. https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019030087

Schindler, U., Durner, W., von Unold, G., Mueller, L., Wieland, R., 2010. The evaporation method: Extending the measurement range of soil hydraulic properties using the air-entry pressure of the ceramic cup. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. https://doi.org/10.1002/jpln.200900201


This research has been co-financed by the European Union and Greek national funds through the Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, under the call RESEARCH-CREATE-INNOVATE (project codes: T1EDK-03372, Τ1EDK-04171)

How to cite: Daliakopoulos, I., Papadimitriou, D., and Manios, T.: Improving the efficiency of HYPROP by controlling temperature and air flow, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13082, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13082, 2021.

Christoff Andermann, Markus Reich, Torsten Queißer, Bijay Puri, Oliver Rach, Niels Hovius, and Dirk Sachse

With global change, one of the largest short-term threats to our societies comes from changes in the hydro-meteorological cycle: droughts, flooding and potentially increasing extreme rain events may have far greater direct impact on humans than rising temperatures alone. These changes often have sever consequences and widespread impact on society and ecosystems, yet they are difficult to track, trace and measure in order to fully understand the underlying process of delivering moisture and recharging water reservoirs. Only through the comprehensive monitoring of precipitation waters in space and time can we improve our process understanding and better predict the direction and magnitude of future hydro-meteorological changes, in particular on regional spatial scales. However, no commercial automated sampling solution exists, which fulfills the quality criteria for sophisticated hydrochemical water analysis.

Here, we present an new developed automatic precipitation water sampler for stable water isotope analysis of precipitation. The device is designed to be highly autonomous and robust for campaign deployment in harsh remote areas and fulfills the high demands on sampling and storage for isotope analysis (i.e. sealing of samples from atmospheric influences, no contamination and preservation of the sample material). The sampling device is portable, has low power consumption and a real-time adaptable sampling protocol strategy, and can be maintained at distance without any need to visit the location. Furthermore, the obtained water samples are not restricted to isotope analysis but can be used for any type of environmental water analysis. The current configuration can obtain 165 discrete rainwater samples with a minimum timely resolution of 5min or volume wise 2mm of rainfall.

The device was tested in several evaluation and benchmarking cycles. First lab tests with dyed waters and waters with strongly differing isotopic signature demonstrate that the device can obtain, store and conserve samples without cross contamination over long periods of time. The device has been tested so far under several conditions, e.g. heavy summer thunderstorms with more than 50mm/24h of rainfall, sustained winter rainfall and in cold conditions involving melting of snow. Furthermore, we run a benchmark test with several devices in parallel. Finally, in October 2020, we had installed six devices, in collaboration with Germany's National Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst DWD), in a South-West to North-East transect across the Harz mountains in Germany. The transect covers ~ 100km distance along the main orographic gradient.

This automated rainwater sampler provides an economic and sophisticated technological solution for monitoring moisture pathways and water transfer processes with the analytical quality of laboratory standard measurements on a new level of temporal and spatial resolution.

How to cite: Andermann, C., Reich, M., Queißer, T., Puri, B., Rach, O., Hovius, N., and Sachse, D.: Automated high resolution rain water sampler for stable water isotope monitoring , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13142, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13142, 2021.

Peter Molnar, Jessica Droujko, and Marius Floriancic

Fine sediment supply to floodplains and coastal areas is extremely important for nutrient transport, global biogeochemical cycles, water quality and pollution in riverine, coastal and marine ecosystems. Monitoring of suspended sediment in rivers with current sensors is challenging and expensive, and most monitoring setups are restricted to few single point measurements. To better understand the spatial heterogeneity of fine sediment production and transport in river systems there is a need for new smart water turbidity sensing that is multisite and at the same time accurate and affordable.

We developed an affordable but reasonably accurate turbidity sensor, that is suitable for distributed sensing with a multitude of sensors across catchments. Our turbidity sensor is much cheaper than existing options of comparable quality. It works by illuminating a sediment-laden water sample with an 860nm IR LED and detects the amount of light scattered at two different angles (with respect to the LED) using light-to-frequency converters. It also incudes an internal temperature sensor and data storage on an SD card. We are also planning to include a water pressure sensor, a GPS module, a more compact and durable design with a printed circuit board, and the option of remote data transmission via LoRa.

Here, we present the results of two experiments with the developed new sensor: (1) a calibration test using formazin (4000 NTU) dilutions to evaluate which detector angles work best in the 0-4000 NTU range, how ambient light affects the results, and if focusing lenses and high-pass filters increase the sensor’s accuracy; (2) a laboratory test with various sediment types and concentrations mixed in a large water tank to compare replicates of our sensors (six in total) to different commercially available turbidity probes. Our results show that a high accuracy in the 0-4000 NTU range can be achieved with our low cost, low power sensor.

The new turbidity sensor will allow us to localise sediment sources and sinks in catchments, i.e. where and when fine sediment is produced, transported and deposited across entire catchments. We will be able to observe the variability in suspended sediment fluxes in glacial streams (the development, expansion and collapse of subglacial channels), along river networks with different local sources (effect of tributary inputs and hillslope landslides), concentration variability due to flow-bed interactions (influence of river bed morphology and grain size), and asses the activation of erosion by rainfall across the multiple potential sediment sources of a catchment. The developed sensor will enable the development of distributed measurement setups, which hopefully can address many other complex challenges related to the spatially heterogeneous processes of sediment activation and transport. This project lays a foundation to explore water turbidity sensing in other global environmental applications in the future, such as soil erosion, sediment trapping behind dams, lake monitoring, and ecological studies.

How to cite: Molnar, P., Droujko, J., and Floriancic, M.: A Low-Cost Turbidity Sensor for Deployment in Rivers, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13337, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-13337, 2021.

Steven Weijs and Sophia Eugeni

Streamflow measurement and prediction are important for proper water resources management. In this case, the water resources problem is drought in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, where a village is drawing drinking water from a mountain stream. Because of challenges with other flow measurement methods in streep turbulent streams, salt dilution gauging is the best way to measure streamflow, but it is labour intensive.

To advance progress towards the singularity, an intelligent automated salt dilution gauging system was deployed, and provides good results, but some disturbances occur due to the presence of a tributary and a drinking water intake. We show how this noise can be turned into signals and discuss a range of other signals that together provide input for the discharge record.

How to cite: Weijs, S. and Eugeni, S.: Bring the noise: Piecing together a discharge record from an automated salt dilution gauging setup and various other information sources, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14324, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14324, 2021.

Hessel Winsemius, Stephen Mather, Ivan Gayton, and Iddy Chazua

The state of the art in terrain data generation is Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR). LiDAR is usually deployed through manned or unmanned aerial vehicles. As typical payloads are high, an aircraft with LiDAR needs to be significant in size. Therefore, LiDAR is currently only done by specialized companies with expensive equipment, and cannot be deployed by local service providers in low income countries, despite the plethora of use cases for its data.


A promising avenue to replace LiDAR is photogrammetry. It can be applied with much lighter and more affordable aircrafts and its use to provide extensive terrain datasets is steadily increasing. The scalable open-source software OpenDroneMap allows for extending datasets to very large amounts. Photogrammetry however, cannot penetrate vegetation, and (as is the case with LiDAR) does not resolve ground terrain in obscured areas such as dense urban areas with narrow alleys.


That is why we are developing OpenDroneMap360, a free and open-source DIY hardware-software camera-ball platform for collection of high quality photos with any carrier you can think of. This can be a self-built drone, a backpack rig or another setup we haven’t considered yet, equipped with enough lenses to discover any ground that you can think of. Our current hardware offers a backpack rig with a total of 7 lenses and contains a parts list, 3D-printable hull, connection scheme, software deployment and a Sphinx manual how to build, deploy and operate the rig. The technology contains raspberry pi cameras connected to raspberry pi zeros for each lens, a Ardusimple u-blox ZED-F9P GNSS chipset, a raspberry pi4 to instruct the cameras, collect GPS positions, and perform file and data management, and a LiPo battery solution. The entire setup is available on https://github.com/localdevices/odm360


How to cite: Winsemius, H., Mather, S., Gayton, I., and Chazua, I.: OpenDroneMap360, an affordable DIY open-source hardware and software workflow for 3D point clouds and terrain models, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16254, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-16254, 2021.