Faculty of Engineering
Water Measurement for the 21st Century
Water is essential to all lifeforms, and monitoring of water resources is very critical to ensure their sustainability. KUAS’ own Dr. Salem Ibrahim Salem has been working on improving the accuracy of monitoring for the better part of his academic career.
There are a variety of approaches in this field: the main methods are using satellite data and conducting field measurement. Field measurement produces very accurate data but is very time consuming and does not provide the condition for a whole body of water. Satellite data allows long-term, daily recording, but satellites only measure reflective sunlight and not water quality data such as the concentration of water. A combination of these approaches is how Dr. Salem usually obtains his data, but recently advancements in drones have resulted in new potential. As in other fields of measurement, drones have the potential to change how we measure water dramatically. Drones fly much closer to the water than satellites, but do not necessarily need the manpower and resources required for field measurement. With drones, high resolution images can be obtained for large bodies of water at higher efficiency than ever before – especially if improvements in flying time (i.e. battery life) and camera functionality to include hyperspectral cameras come to fruition.
How does Dr. Salem’s research contribute to our understanding of water? The first application that comes to mind is weather: water analysis helps make weather reports more accurate, and on a global scale. This goes beyond tomorrow’s forecast to include predictions for extreme weather such as floods, crucially important as such events have become more common in our changing climate. Further applications can benefit people whose livelihoods directly depends on bodies of water, such as fisherman. In developing nations, there is even higher demand, as the need for clean water (and thus the analysis of toxicity in water) is crucially important. Dr. Salem has gathered data in Vietnam, Thailand, the East China Sea and Tokyo Bay, and is looking to continue his research to help understand the most crucial element to human life.