Volume 55, Issue 1 p. 10-26
Review Paper/

Using Diurnal Temperature Signals to Infer Vertical Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange

by Dylan J. Irvine

Corresponding Author

Dylan J. Irvine

School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia

The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, Flinders University, 326 Sturt Rd, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia

Corresponding author: School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, 9 Rainforest Walk, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia; +61399051098; fax: +61399051098; [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Martin A. Briggs

Martin A. Briggs

U. S. Geological Survey, Office of Groundwater, Branch of Geophysics, 11 Sherman Place Unit 5015, Storrs, CT 06269

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Laura K. Lautz

Laura K. Lautz

Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University 204 Heroy Geology Laboratory, Syracuse, NY 13244

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Ryan P. Gordon

Ryan P. Gordon

Maine Geological Survey, 93 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333

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Jeffrey M. McKenzie

Jeffrey M. McKenzie

Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University, 3450 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 0E8

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Ian Cartwright

Ian Cartwright

School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia

The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, Flinders University, 326 Sturt Rd, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia

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First published: 03 October 2016
Citations: 68
Article impact statement: We provide practical guidance on the use of diurnal temperature signals to infer vertical groundwater-surface water exchange.

Abstract

Heat is a powerful tracer to quantify fluid exchange between surface water and groundwater. Temperature time series can be used to estimate pore water fluid flux, and techniques can be employed to extend these estimates to produce detailed plan-view flux maps. Key advantages of heat tracing include cost-effective sensors and ease of data collection and interpretation, without the need for expensive and time-consuming laboratory analyses or induced tracers. While the collection of temperature data in saturated sediments is relatively straightforward, several factors influence the reliability of flux estimates that are based on time series analysis (diurnal signals) of recorded temperatures. Sensor resolution and deployment are particularly important in obtaining robust flux estimates in upwelling conditions. Also, processing temperature time series data involves a sequence of complex steps, including filtering temperature signals, selection of appropriate thermal parameters, and selection of the optimal analytical solution for modeling. This review provides a synthesis of heat tracing using diurnal temperature oscillations, including details on optimal sensor selection and deployment, data processing, model parameterization, and an overview of computing tools available. Recent advances in diurnal temperature methods also provide the opportunity to determine local saturated thermal diffusivity, which can improve the accuracy of fluid flux modeling and sensor spacing, which is related to streambed scour and deposition. These parameters can also be used to determine the reliability of flux estimates from the use of heat as a tracer.