CWI reviews heat tracing as a technique for quantifying groundwater flow

Posted 3 February 2014

Dr Gabriel Rau with a streambed heat probe for estimating surface water groundwater interactions.

Subsurface temperature can be used to quantify surface water groundwater interactions simply by measuring the temperature at different depths in streambeds.

Because this technique can play a significant role in the observation of surface-groundwater interactions, CWI researchers have conducted a comprehensive review of the use of heat as a tracer to quantify water flow in near-surface sediments.

Published in the prestigious journal Earth-Science Reviews, the work combines a synthesis of recent advances in this rapidly growing research field with current understanding of how heat travels through porous materials obtained from several different disciplines, such as engineering and earth sciences.

"This new resource has the potential to improve understanding and inter-disciplinary approaches to the advancement of heat tracing techniques," says lead author Dr Gabriel Rau.

Furthermore, the paper highlights ways in which further research can improve understanding and application of heat tracing.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT), an Australian Government initiative, supported by the Australian Research Council and the National Water Commission.

Publication: Rau, G. C.; Andersen, M. S.; McCallum, A. M.; Roshan, H.; Acworth, R. I. (2014), Heat as a tracer to quantify water flow in near-surface sediments, Earth-Science Reviews, 129, 40-58, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.10.015.

Links:

For more information regarding this work please email Gabriel Rau: gabriel.rau@unsw.edu.au

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