Instruments and Sensors

  • Kolumban HutterEmail author
  • Yongqi Wang
  • Irina P. Chubarenko
Part of the Advances in Geophysical and Environmental Mechanics and Mathematics book series (AGEM)


An overview of traditional field measurement tools are presented in this chapter. Instruments and sensors are described, commonly used in field practice to measure water currents, water temperature, electrical conductivity, water level, depth, limnologically relevant optical properties and characteristics of turbulence. Among the current meters, various principles of operation and different primary converters of mechanical, acoustic, electromagnetic instruments are discussed. Physical principles of measurements of water temperature and electrical conductivity are considered, along with the main constructive features of famous historical (Galileo’s thermometer, reversing thermometer) and popular modern (CTDs) instruments. Water level and water depth measurements go back to the nineteenth century, and this chapter presents the tools for that—from point-pole and sounding lead to standard limnigraph and echo-sounder. Tools to quantify optical properties of lake water range from simple but reliable scales to define water colour and water transparency—the hue scale, the Forel-Uhl scale, the Secchi disk—to complicated modern photometers and lasers. Finally, concept of turbulence is introduced in most a simple way, in order to explain the reader how its features are deduced from time series of water velocity or temperature, which are measured by turbulimeters; examples of such instruments are presented.


Internal Wave Suspended Matter Water Density Current Speed Secchi Depth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Symbols




Magnetic field of the Earth


Symbol for a physical variable


Mean value of \(f\)

\(f^{\prime }\)

Fluctuation/pulsation of \(f\)


Frequency of eigenoscillation


Gravity constant


Depth, water depth




Characteristic length


Kolmogorov length (1 mm)


Distance between electrodes




Reynolds number

\(R_t, (R_0)\)

Electric resistances of the interior (exterior) of a region




Kolmogorov time (1 s)


Velocity modulus


Velocity vector


Secchi disk depth



\(\alpha , \beta , \gamma \)

Coefficients in parameterizations

\(\beta \)

Isothermal compressibility

\(\varDelta \rho _s\)

Density anomaly due to dissolved substances

\(\varepsilon \)

Electric/magnetic potential, light extinction/absorption coefficient, specific turbulent dissipation rate

\(\kappa \)

Specific turbulent kinetic energy

\(\nu \)

Kinematic viscosity

\(\rho \)


\(\rho _{*} = \rho _w\)

\(=1,000\) kg m\(^{-3}\)

\(\rho _T\)

Density of pure water

\(\sigma _t = \rho - \rho _{*}\)

Density anomaly


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kolumban Hutter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yongqi Wang
    • 2
  • Irina P. Chubarenko
    • 3
  1. 1.c/o Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology at ETHZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Chair of Fluid Dynamics, Department of Mechanical EngineeringTU DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  3. 3.P.P. Shirshov Institute of OceanologyRussian Academy of SciencesKaliningradRussia

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