ESR N° 7: Multi-scale thermal imaging of groundwater upwelling in stream valleys

Research Fellow: Joel Tirado-Conde


hosted by Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Peter K. Engesgaard
Majken C. Looms Zibar

UFZ Leipzig – 3 months (2019)
Université de Neuchâtel – 3 months (2019)

Research Objectives

Develop a multi-scale thermal imagery method, where airborne and ground-based methods can quantify where, when, and how much groundwater escapes to stream valleys with special attention to how temperature-controlled changes in hydraulic parameters affect water storage/wetness/flooding/upwelling and direct seepage to streams. The innovative aspect is to investigate if thermal imaging is a feasible method for mapping upwelling at the scale of stream networks and linking these to temporal changes in hydraulic parameters and possible hot-spots of reactivity.

Tasks and methodology

  • Instrument Holtum stream (Denmark) sites and perform seasonal campaigns with airborne and ground based methods.
  • Create local 2D/3D flow and heat transport models to understand flow upwelling processes.
  • Test the imaging and modelling techniques at TERENO sites in Germany.
  • Integrate knowledge and data from local models into a 3D sub-catchment model.


Data produced during the research project will be inserted in the H+ database.

Dissemination and Communication

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Presentation at the AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco (USA): “Groundwater – surface water interactions in a lowland stream valley: thermal characterization of groundwater upwelling in a wetland

Publication in Water 11:9 “Application of Stable Isotopes of water to Study Coupled Submarine Groundwater Discharge and Nutrient Delivery

Publication in Water 11:18 “Evaluation of Temperature Profiling and Seepage Meter Methods for Quantifying Submarine Groundwater Discharge to Coastal Lagoons: Impacts of saltwater Intrusion and the Associated Thermal Regime


Poster for the 4th Cargèse Summer School “Heat as a tracer to study groundwater upwelling: field data and benchmarking integrated hydrological modelling

Presentation for Computational Methods in Water Resources XXII: “Benchmarking the use of heat as a tracer by the use of integrated surface and subsurface hydrologic models

Poster for 33rd Nordic Geological Winter Meeting: “Temperature profiles to measures groundwater discharge to Ringkøbing Fjord