Active-distributed temperature sensing to continuously quantify vertical flow in boreholes

T. Read, O. Bour, J. S. Selker, V. F. Bense, T. Le Borgne, R. Hochreutener, N. Lavenant

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We show how a distributed borehole flowmeter can be created from armored Fiber Optic cables with the Active-Distributed Temperature Sensing (A-DTS) method. The principle is that in a flowing fluid, the difference in temperature between a heated and unheated cable is a function of the fluid velocity. We outline the physical basis of the methodology and report on the deployment of a prototype A-DTS flowmeter in a fractured rock aquifer. With this design, an increase in flow velocity from 0.01 to 0.3 m s−1 elicited a 2.5°C cooling effect. It is envisaged that with further development this method will have applications where point measurements of borehole vertical flow do not fully capture combined spatiotemporal dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3706–3713
Number of pages8
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number5
Early online date6 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • A-DTS
  • borehole
  • flowmeter
  • heated
  • fiber optics

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