2017_12 CEE_Buytaert - Workspace


2017_12 CEE_Buytaert - Workspace
2017_12: Wireless sensor networks for river stage
and flow monitoring
Supervisors: Dr Wouter Buytaert ([email protected])
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Multiple technological developments, ranging from wireless communication to the
miniaturization of electronics for computing and data storage, provide great
opportunities for environmental sensing. This is of global importance, because large
parts of the world are still very data scarce in terms of environmental variables such
as precipitation, stream flow and soil moisture. At the same time stressors such as
environmental degradation, climate change, and population growth are putting
increasing pressures on natural resources. The world’s mountains are among the most
vulnerable regions. Melting glaciers, deforestation, soil degradation, and erosion are
among the many processes that affect local and regional ecosystem services and
natural resources. Yet, traditional environmental monitoring networks in mountains are
often sparse and insufficient because of the harsh climate, difficult access, and strong
variability of weather, vegetation and topography.
Robust, low-cost and pervasive monitoring networks hold promise to complement the
traditionally available monitoring networks. Although the data quality of such sensors
may be lower, they can be employed in much larger quantities, given a better spatial
coverage, higher robustness and redundancy. They are also ideal to be employed in
a context of community-based approaches and citizen science, in combination with
mobile phone apps and other techniques for data visualization and communication to
non-scientific audiences.
For more information on how to apply visit us at www.imperial.ac.uk/changingplanet
Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet
Early prototyping and testing of the
robustness and accuracy of low-cost
water level sensors developed by the
hydrology group has shown great
promise for the application of such
sensors in remote mountain regions
such as the Andes (pictured) and the
Himalayas. This PhD project aims to
advance further the technological and
scientific basis for the development of
water level sensors and their application
in flood early warning systems. First, the
design of the existing prototypes will be
refined in collaboration with Electrical
Engineering department at Imperial
exploration of novel and upcoming
technologies such as the LoRa lowpower wireless transmission protocol.
Subsequently, the project will focus on
the analysis of data produced by the
sensor networks, and particularly the assimilation in hydraulic models of river flow and
discharge. This activity will be supported by both laboratory scale experiments, and
prototyping in field conditions with potential field sites in Nepal and Peru.
The project will be affiliated to the NERC/DFID funded research project on “Citizen
science for landslide risk reduction and resilience building in mountain regions”
(SHEAR programme), which aims to study the broader context and the potential of
new technologies to support community-based early flood warning systems in Nepal
and the wider Himalaya region.
For more information on how to apply visit us at www.imperial.ac.uk/changingplanet

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