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Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD) represents a significant mode of chemical transport to water bodies, making it an important flux to understand. Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems-deployed thermal infrared sensors (sUAS-TIR) provide a financially and logistically inexpensive means of identifying SGD source zones and quantifying SGD thermal infrared (TIR) plume areas over regional scales at high spatial resolutions. sUAS-TIR additionally offers the unique capability of high temporal resolution measurements of SGD. As a developing science application, the use of sUAS-TIR to image SGD requires substantial background knowledge. We present a proposed methodological construct for implementing a sUAS-TIR program for SGD-TIR data gathering, with applications extending to other research fields that can benefit from airborne TIR. Several studies have used airborne TIR in combination with empirical SGD flux measurements to quantify SGD, reporting a consistently strong regression between SGD flux and SGD TIR plume area. We additionally discuss novel research opportunities for sUAS-TIR technologies, as applied to SGD flux. The combination of high spatial and temporal resolution capabilities, at relatively low costs, make sUAS-TIR a promising new technology to overcome the scaling challenges presented by empirical studies and modeling of SGD fluxes, and advance our understanding of the controls on SGD fluxes.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.