2022 West Pole

2022 West Pole

Shortly after Easter 2022 a real-time water quality monitor was deployed on the West Pole Beacon just outside the entrance to Chichester Harbour. The reason for monitoring this site is to help determine factors affecting crabs, lobsters and other marine life in the area. The site is a meeting point for a number of water bodies, including Chichester Harbour, Bracklesham Bay, and the Solent. It is exciting to see what the data shows!

The data collection unit is a multi-parameter XO2 sonde linked to a solar powered telemetry unit that beams our data out to space and returns it to the EA National Data Monitoring unit in Reading.  Data is gathered every 15 minutes and enables us to monitor temperature, conductivity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll and fDOM.

The term fDOM refers to Fluorescent Dissolved Organic Matter (fDOM), the fraction of Colored Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM) that fluoresces. fDOM is a surrogate for CDOM, and a fast and easy means of tracking DOM in natural waters. This is how Xylem Analytics explains fDOM:

fDOM - Fluorescent Dissolved Organic Matter | Xylem Analytics

The sonde and telemetry unit was installed on 19 April 2022 and operated until 1 Nov 2022 when it was lost during weather that was so severs not even a marine grade cable was able to withstand the forces involved. It was replaced on 18 April 2023 and is now transmitting live data. Both live and archived data can be accessed via the links below.

Live link:

Following is the live link to the sonde unit on West Pole:

MDC - Meteor Data Cloud (telemetry-data.com)

Archive link:

Graph 1 in the link below shows the archive data gathered from the West Pole unit between April to Nov 2022.


Using a telemetry unit and sonde is enabling us to gather real time data for up to a year. The length of time is key because it means seasonal variability can be accounted for. The sensor for nitrates will show whether land run off makes its way to the open coast.

The photos in the gallery below show West Pole at 7.00am on a beautiful clear and chilly morning just before Easter in April 2022. The telemetry unit is mounted on the upper platform at the top of West Pole. The platform can be seen in the first photo. It is connected to the sonde unit via an incredibly tough marine grade cable. The sonde is deployed down the vertical section of brown down pipe seen attached to the base of West Pole in the last but one photo. The sensors are measuring water quality parameters 2m off the sea bed and 4m-7m from the sea surface according to the state of the tide.