At ECOL, we investigate the spatio-temporal variability of lake surface water temperature (LSWT) and air-water exchange processes, in particular the surface heat flux, from large-scale (satellite-scale) to meso-scale (sub-pixel satellite scale), to small-scale (in situ measurements). The AVHRR satellite data (in collaboration with University of Bern) and weather model results (COSMO) are the main datasets for the former, while a Balloon Launched Imaging and Monitoring Platform (BLIMP) and an autonomous catamaran (called ZiviCat) were developed for aerial remote sensing and in situ measurements, respectively.
Engineering at ECOL aims at providing custom technical solutions developed to acquire the data needed for the research activities. Most of these systems are developed in-house by the technical staff.
The ZiviCat is an autonomous catamaran (see picture during a measurement campaign) has been developed. It follows waypoints while taking measurements like water temperature at various depths, wind speed and direction, net radiation, etc. It can be monitored remotely using the 4G network or RF communication.
Another example is the payload of a tethered balloon which can record thermal and color images from a height of up to 2km above ground. The image shows the setting up the tethered balloon. The Zivicat autonomous catamaran can be seen in the background.
Systems that are to be placed underwater are also being developed. One of those is a camera (and lights) that takes color pictures of the lakebed. It is used to study the patterns that form on the bottom. Another example is a device that monitors the water currents and temperature with high resolution. The picture offers a view of the lakebed camery on the way to deployment on the lake.