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Assessing the potential of a newly-developed turbidity sensor for estimating sediment yields from recently burnt catchments

Boogert, FJ ; Martins, M.A.S. ; Bilro, L. ; Prats, S. ; Nogueira, R.N. ; Keizer, J. J.

Flamma Vol. 4, Nº 3, pp. 139 - 141, February, 2013.

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Wildfires are a common phenomenon worldwide. As a consequence of fire effects on vegetation and soil properties, a
substantially increase in runoff and associated sediment transport has been reported in burnt slopes. Commercial
turbidity sensors can be used to estimate sediment concentration in runoff samples. However, despite their existence
for over two decades, the use of these sensors has been limited to specific situations. Plastic optic fiber (POF) turbidity
sensors, due to their low-costs and suitability for multiplexing, have a high potential for monitoring turbidity in field
conditions, either at plot, slope or catchment scale. In the present work, the performance of a newly developed POF
sensor was compared with that of a OBS-3+ sensor, using artificial samples of sediments collected at the channel
network of a recently burnt catchment in north-central Portugal. For all the three sediment fractions analysed in the
present study, there was a positive correlation between the estimated suspended sediment concentrations of the POF
and OBS-3+ sensors. Nevertheless, a consistently better relationship (higher R2 values) was found for POF than for
OBS-3+ sensor.