Remote temperature loggers are often used to measure water temperatures for ecological studies and by regulatory agencies to determine whether water quality standards are being maintained. Equipment specifications are often given a cursory review in the methods; however, the effect of temperature logger model is rarely addressed in the discussion. In a laboratory environment, we compared measurements from three models of temperature loggers at 5 to 40 °C to better understand the utility of these devices. Mean water temperatures recorded by logger models differed statistically even for those with similar accuracy specifications, but were still within manufacturer accuracy specifications. Maximum mean temperature difference between models was 0.4 °C which could have regulatory and ecological implications, such as when a 0.3 °C temperature change triggers a water quality violation or increases species mortality rates. Additionally, precision should be reported as the overall precision (including a consideration of significant digits) for combined model types which in our experiment was 0.7 °C, not the ≤0.4 °C for individual models. Our results affirm that analyzing data collected by different logger models can result in potentially erroneous conclusions when <1 °C difference has regulatory compliance or ecological implications and that combining data from multiple logger models can reduce the overall precision of results.
Robin M. Rotman et al.,
Use of Multiple Stream Temperature Logger Models Can Alter Conclusions, 12 Water 668
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/facpubs/1003