Data is from a series of instruments, including temperature loggers, weather stations and turbidity / salinity loggers deployed
at four sites in the Torres Strait (Thursday Island – logger + weather station), Masig Island (logger + weather station),
Bramble Cay (Maizab Kaur – logger + weather station) and the northern Warrior Reefs (turbidity and salinity) as part of
a larger project to investigate the impact of Fly River discharge waters on the Torres Strait. Weather station data provides
wind and atmospheric data to drive oceanographic models, temperature data identifies periods of thermal anomalies that may
be related to coral bleaching and ecosystem health and the turbidity / salinity loggers identifies times where low salinity
/ high turbidity waters encroach on the northern part of the Torres Strait.
This work represents a two-year extension to a previous NESP project with the extension, for this part of the project, looking
to deploy instruments at the Northern Warrior Reefs for turbidity and salinity monitoring and to maintain the rest of the
instruments to support the modelling work and remote sensing analysis.
The overall project was to identify the fate of waters from the Fly River in Papua New Guinea and their potential impact
on the Torres Strait region. This component of the project looked to provide real time weather information to drive the oceanographic
models that model sediment transport and water movement. The Temperature loggers form an extension of previous work around
identifying times of temperatures anomalies that may be linked to coral bleaching events. The work has identified a cool
region in the east of the Torres Straits that may be important for longer term coral health. Finally, turbidity and salinity
instruments were deployed at the Northern Warrior Reefs following concerns that this area was impacted by seagrass die-back
and so may be showing signs of impact from PNG coastal waters.
Two drone flights were also done over Bramble Cay, one in November 2019 and the second in October 2020. GeoTIFF images
from the Drone-Deploy software are included in the data set.
Standard AIMS weather stations based on a Vaisala WTX-530 weather station along with a Li-Cor LI-192 PAR light sensor were
deployed previously at Tuesday Islet near Thursday Island, at Masig (Yorke) Island in the central Torres Strait and at Bramble
Cay (Maizab Kaur) in the north-east of the Torres Strait.
Data collected includes:
- Wind speed and direction averaged over 10 and 30 minutes
- Relative Humidity
- Barometric Pressure
- Air Temperature
- Light as PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation)
As well as the above water sensors the stations had below water sensors, typically Seabird SBE39 temperature and depth sensors.
Small self-contained temperature loggers were deployed at a series of sites across the Torres Strait, due to restriction on
retrieving these this data only includes loggers from the weather station sites. The loggers are Vemco Minilog-T II loggers
(no longer produced) and record temperature every 10 minutes.
Turbidity / Salinity Loggers:
The instruments deployed on the Northern Warrior Reefs consisted of a Wet-Labs NTUS turbidity sensor and a SeaBird SBE-37
CTD instrument. The instruments were deployed in early 2020 and recovered in late 2020 for about a year’s worth of data.
The data was downloaded and with the manufacturers software converted to standard units including accounting for calibration
data. The data was topped and tailed to remove data when the instruments were not in the water (using the time stamps and
depth sensor). Finally, the data was visually inspected and any spikes and other anomalous values removed.
Drone surveys were done of Bramble Cay to get data on cay movement and stability. A DJI Phantom-3 drone was used to collect
images, the images were then stitched into an ortho-mosaic using the Drone-Deploy software system.
Drone Deploy is a web service where you program in your area to service. It then controls the Drone using an app that flies
it in a pattern to cover the area, taking photos along the way. These photos are then uploaded to the Drone Deploy servers
where they are stitched together using Photogrammetry into an ortho-mosaic (looking straight down from a long way away).
Limitations of the data:
Due to technical issues, there are data gaps in the data sets. It is difficult to get to the stations to do repairs
and the presence of COVID-19 restrictions added to this.
Weather Station Data:
This can be obtained from the AIMS web site at: Maritime Weather and Oceanographic Observations (https://weather.aims.gov.au/#/overview).
The data included in this report is downloaded 10 minute raw data and daily averaged data as excel spreadsheets.
The logger data can also be accessed from the AIMS web site at: Spatial Maps - Research Data - Australian Institute of Marine
Science (aims.gov.au). The data included in this report is the downloaded raw 10 minute data as Excel files.
Turbidity and Salinity Data:
The data is included as the raw data files from the instruments (no quality control) and then as Excel files that have
been quality controlled. Data is 10 minute readings converted to either PSU for salinity or NTU for turbidity. Dates are shown
as local times (UTC+10) and identified as such by the column titles.
The exported files from Drone Deploy are included, these are Zip files with a KML file that refences the included GeoTIFF
file. These files are large and so may not load on older computers.
Waterhouse, J., Petus, C., Brodie, J., Bainbridge, S., Wolanski, E., Dafforn, K.A., Birrer, S.C., Lough, J., Tracey, D.,
Johnson, J.E., Chariton, A.C., Johnston, E.L., Li, Y., Martins, F., O’Brien, D. (2018) Identifying water quality and ecosystem
health threats to the Torres Strait and Far Northern GBR from runoff of the Fly River. Report to the National Environmental
Science Program. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns (162pp.).
Bainbridge, S.J., Berkelmans, R., Sweatman, H and Weeks, S. (2015). Monitoring the health of Torres Strait Reefs – Final
Report. Report to the National Environmental Research Program. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns (pp 74).
This dataset is filed in the eAtlas enduring data repository at: data\custodian\2019-2022-NESP-TWQ-5\5.14_TS-water-quality