Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 97331, USA
Received: 02 Aug 2014 – Discussion started: 29 Sep 2014
Abstract. Submersible pressure transducers have been utilized for collecting water level data since the early 1960s. Together with a digital data logger, it is a convenient way to record water level fluctuations for long-term monitoring. Despite the wide use of pressure transducers for water level monitoring, little has been reported regarding their accuracy and performance under field conditions. The effects of temperature fluctuations on the output of vented pressure transducers were considered in this study. The pressure transducers were tested under both laboratory and field conditions. The results of this study indicate that temperature fluctuation has a strong effect on the transducer output. Rapid changes in temperature introduce noise and fluctuations in the water level readings under a constant hydraulic head while the absolute temperature is also related to sensor errors. The former is attributed to venting and the latter is attributed to temperature compensation effects in the strain gauges. Individual pressure transducers responded differently to the thermal fluctuations in the same testing environment. In the field of surface hydrology, especially when monitoring fine-scale water level fluctuations, ignoring or failing to compensate for the temperature effect can introduce considerable error into pressure transducer readings. It is recommended that a performance test for the pressure transducer is conducted before field deployment.
Revised: 13 Jan 2015 – Accepted: 01 Feb 2015 – Published: 03 Mar 2015
Liu, Z. and Higgins, C. W.: Does temperature affect the accuracy of vented pressure transducer in fine-scale water level measurement?, Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 4, 65-73, doi:10.5194/gi-4-65-2015, 2015.