What are we monitoring?
We have worked hard with a number of internationally recognised cave scientists to develop a network of loggers that record changes in external and cave climate every 10 mins. These loggers are positioned to capture changes in cave hydrology, atmospherics and the impact of tourism. All the data from these loggers can be openly accessed free of charge from this website!
Changes in external climate drive changes within the cave system. Simple variations in temperature and wind direction can have major consequences for air flow in the cave. Changes in rainfall influences the amount of drips and the depth of the river. To monitor how the climate is changing we have a number of loggers positioned outside the cave monitoring at high resolution. These include a rain gauge, temperature and humidity logger and atmospheric pressure logger.
This data may be useful to more than just cave scientists but also meteorologists.
One of the most critical parts of the cave system lies above the cave itself. Microbes that live and respire CO2 in the soil zone are critical to the production of cave systems. The high levels of CO2 produced in this zone create acidic water which then goes on to dissolve the limestone bedrock, creating caves. Therefore we are monitoring the living conditions of these microbes and the concentration of CO2 they produce.
To understand how climate change, soil microbes and tourism impact the cave's climate we have installed a number of high resolution sensors. These act as a radio mesh, "bouncing" real time data, including temperature, drip rate, pressure and CO2 data out of the cave. This state of the art sensor network makes the British Cave Science Centre one of the worlds leading cave research centres!