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The autonomous Simpatico system for real-time continuous water-quality and current velocity monitoring: examples of application in three Portuguese estuaries


This technical paper describes an autonomous recording system with remote data access for the continuous, long-term in situ monitoring of water quality and discharge, as well as current velocity. The Simpatico system has been recently deployed in three estuaries in Portugal (Mondego and Tagus in July 2007; Guadiana in March 2008), highly suitable to illustrate its multifaceted potential applications: surveillance of the effects of mitigation measures to combat eutrophication (lower Mondego Estuary); real-time implementation of boundary conditions for a water modelling system (upper Tagus Estuary); study of dam-induced impacts in terms of water quality, water discharge and sediment budgets (mouth of the Guadiana Estuary). An extract of recorded data serves as an example to discuss data reliability, as well as field maintenance of the system, with implications for labour and operational costs. The use of a new generation of copper-based anti-biofouling kits significantly reduced the need for field maintenance operations. Other examples of possible application of the system include the assessment of gas accumulation in coastal waters.

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Correspondence to Erwan Garel.

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Garel, E., Nunes, S., Neto, J.M. et al. The autonomous Simpatico system for real-time continuous water-quality and current velocity monitoring: examples of application in three Portuguese estuaries. Geo-Mar Lett 29, 331–341 (2009).

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  • Water Framework Directive
  • Southern Branch
  • Tagus Estuary
  • Mondego Estuary
  • Dissolve Oxygen Sensor