Explore our self-developed technological innovation to learn more about the alpine environment and climate change.

The Temperature Sensors

With this sensor, the station measures the water temperature, which can change much quicker then in an ocean due to the small water body. Hot summers and no additional input through cooling rainfall events can heat up the lake drastically. In winter in reaches minus degrees due to lots of snow and building of ice at these high altitudes. Also day and night cycles are visible within those small water bodies, as well as resulting water circulations within the water column.

The temperature can have effects on the animals and plants, but also chemical effects like a decrease in oxygen. To high temperatures can also result in algae blooms.

The Oxygen Sensors

With this sensor, the station can measure the amount of oxygen in the water. Through rainfall events or other freshwater input into the lake the amount of oxygen can increase, whereas during winter with total ice coverage the oxygen amount can decrease.

The oxygen is necessary for animals like the alpine newt to survive. With long droughts during summer or long ice coverages during winter this can have drastic effects on the survival of those alpine newts. A heathy stable amount of oxygen also prevents an accumulation of algae.

The Conductivity Sensors

With this sensor, the station measures the salinity of the water in the lake. Due to it being a mountain lake it is only freshwater, but even small changes in the salinity through runoff of minerals from the surrounding can tell us a lot about the chemical changes in the lake. Also the buoyancy effect of the water is dependent on the salinity of the lake water.

The animals and plants are very fragile to general or sudden changes in the chemistry of the lake, thus monitoring also salinity is important.

The pH Sensors

With this sensor, the station measures the pH of the lake water. The pH of the lake is between 7 and 9, but it can quickly vary through rainfall events or runoff from the surrounding soil as the waterbody of alpine lakes is very small.

For animals and plants the pH is crucial. To drastic and quick changes can result in mass mortality events or acidification and algae blooms in the lake.

The Pressure Sensors

With this sensor, the station can measure the pressure of the water, which tells us height of the water column above the station. With this we can indicate the water level of the lake. Alpine lakes usually do not have a steady input through e.g. a stream only an outflow at a specific height. Therefore the water level can vary only be changed through rainfall events and snowfall/snow melting or evaporation during summer.

The lower the water level, the less water is in the lake, which can increase the chemical changes and harm the animals and plants. It also causes the size of the lake to shrink and exposes underwater vegetation at the lakeshore to dry out.

The Station Rig

On a daily basis, the sensors of the station will measure the lake water level (pressure), pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen and salinity (conductivity). These five water parameters are critical for the species of fauna and flora that the alpine lake is able to support. Recording the changes in the hydrological conditions of an alpine lake, is the key to understanding how water of alpine lakes - and effectively the health status of that ecosystem - is being affected by climate change and human activities, indicating how we can help preserve it.
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