Benefits of aerial surveys for thermal plumes

APEM’s aerial thermal surveys allow us to cover large areas quickly and economically at a range of resolutions, and to monitor remote or inaccessible locations. This gives our scientists a powerful tool with which to survey and monitor the effect of thermal plumes and effluent on protected or sensitive ecosystems.

How aerial surveys of thermal plumes work

APEM P-68 aerial survey aircraft on survey, now with PART-SPO certificate

APEM operates the very latest thermographic technology in our fleet of survey aircraft. Combined with our knowledge of water quality, fluvial and coastal processes, this allows us to offer bespoke solutions for the detection, evaluation and validation of thermal plumes and pipeline breaches.

We combine thermal infrared and colour optical imagery to show how and where thermal effluent discharges into the local environment.

The images reveal the discharges clearly, while the high resolution colour images also allow the interface between the thermal plume and the surrounding environment to be easily identified.

  • thermal plume in a waterway
  • Aerial survey of a thermal plme off the coast using a thermal camera
  • Aerial view of a thermal plume in a river

Changes in time and location

By carrying out a series of surveys we are able to monitor how large-scale thermal or pollutant plumes change and develop in terms of temperature, tides and discharge regimes.

Thermal plume surveys can also determine whether a plume exits at the end of an outfall pipe or if breaches occur along the length of the pipe. In addition, the extent of the plume and any associated mixing zone can be assessed.

We then work with clients to implement a plan for managing discharges so that they have the least impact on the surrounding environment.

Air Operator Certificate and PART-SPO

Our Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and PART-SPO registration demonstrate our commitment to operating at the highest standards of health and safety. Together they provide our clients with complete flexibility in carrying expert technicians and task specialists on board our aircraft during surveys.

We operate under our own AOC, fully authorised and audited by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to the same rigorous standards required of major airlines.

We are also the first company to successfully register to operate under the new PART-SPO regulations. PART-SPO is a major update to the way that aerial surveys are regulated, signalling both a significant tightening of requirements and a new approach by the CAA.

It covers special operations from aerial photography to aerobatics, parachuting, cloud seeding and animal herding. APEM is registered for aerial photography, surveying and calibration.

If you have any queries, please contact Mark Wilkins, senior remote sensing scientist.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.