Vertical Profiler Data
Sometimes it is beneficial to measure water quality parameters at multiple depths rather than at a single fixed depth in the water column. In estuarine systems such as the Chesapeake Bay, tides, weather, and freshwater inputs can stratify the system, creating markedly different physical, chemical, and biological conditions at different water depths.
The vertical profiler is a monitoring instrument specifically designed for measuring water quality at multiple vertical locations in the water column. The vertical profiling system consists of a controller, winch, and data logging and telemetry system mounted on a floating platform. The winch is used to lower a water quality monitoring sonde through the water column, stopping at pre-determined depths to record temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity and chlorophyll. The vertical profiler has been anchored at several sites in the Chesapeake Bay and, depending on the site, conducts a profiling sequence every 1-3 hours, with measurements recorded at 1-2 meter depth intervals.
The data collected by the vertical profiler have been used to detect the intrusion of low oxygen waters at a site, to monitor the onset of stratification and mixing events, and to distinguish water quality conditions at surface vs. bottom depths.