Studying rapidly changing hydrochemical signals in catchments can help to improve our mechanistic understanding of their water flow pathways and travel times. For these purposes, stable water isotopes (18O and 2H) and other constituents are commonly used as natural tracers. However, high-frequency analyses of liquid water samples are challenging: one must capture highly dynamic behavior with high precision and accuracy, but the lab workload (and sample storage artifacts) involved in collecting and analyzing thousands of bottled samples should also be avoided.
I am adapting and applying innovative water monitoring strategies to obtain informative data sets to investigate catchment hydrological processes. A newly released Continuous Water Sampler Module (CWS), which is coupled to a Picarro L2130-i Cavity Ring-Down Spectrometer (Picarro Inc., USA), allows for continuous measurements of 18O and 2H directly in the field.
An additional spectrometer probe, as well as optical and electrochemical sensors (s::can Messtechnik GmbH, Vienna), monitor NO3-, DOC and physico-chemical parameters, such as oxygen content, pH, and electrical conductivity. An ion chromatograph (Metrohm, Switzerland) precisely measures the major anions and cations at 30min intervals.
To find a proof-of concept-study, have a look at our paper!