Ulf Mallast et al. identify groundwater discharge at the north-western coast of the Dead Sea by airborne thermal data.
A qualitative and quantitative monitoring of groundwater discharge was conducted based on an airborne thermal campaign undertaken
along the north-western coast of the Dead Sea in January 2011 to contribute to the relatively scarce information on groundwater discharge to date in the region. The application of airborne thermal data exploits thermal contrasts that exist between discharging groundwater and background sea surface temperatures of the Dead Sea. Using these contrasts, 72 discharge sites were identified from which only 42 were known from previous in situ measurements undertaken at terrestrial springs by the Israel Hydrological Service. Six of these sites represent submarine springs and at a further 24 locations groundwater appears to seep through the sediment. Although the abundance of groundwater seepage sites suggests a significant, but so far unknown groundwater source, the main contribution appears to originate from terrestrial springs. In an attempt to provide a quantitative approach for terrestrial springs, a linear bootstrap regression model between in situ spring discharge and respective thermal discharge plumes (r2 = 0.87 p < 0.001) is developed and presented here. While the results appear promising and could potentially be applied to derive discharge values at unmonitored sites, several influence factors need to be clarified before a robust and reliable model to efficiently derive a complete quantitative picture of groundwater discharge can be proposed.
Thermal plume from a submarine spring.
The full article is published in Remote Sensing:
Mallast, U., Schwonke, F., Gloaguen, R., Geyer, S., Sauter, M., Siebert, C., 2013, Airborne thermal data identifies groundwater discharge at the north-western coast of the Dead Sea, Remote Sensing. 5 (12), 6361-6381, doi:10.3390/rs5126361.