Seepage flow through embankment dams and their sub-base is a crucial safety concern that can initiate internal erosion of the structure. The thermometric method of seepage monitoring employs the study of heat transfer characteristics in the soils, as the temperature distribution in earth-filled structures can be influenced by the presence of seepage. Thus, continuous temperature measurements can allow detection of seepage flows. With the recent advances in optical fiber temperature sensor technology, accurate and fast temperature measurements, with relatively high spatial resolution, have been made possible using optical fiber distributed temperature sensors (DTSs). As with any sensor system, to obtain a precise temperature, the DTS measurements need to be calibrated. DTS systems automatically calibrate the measurements using an internal thermometer and reference section. Additionally, manual calibration techniques have been developed which are discussed in this paper. The temperature data do not provide any direct information about the seepage, and this requires further processing and analysis. Several methods have been developed to interpret the temperature data for the localization of the seepage and in some cases to estimate the seepage quantity. An efficient DTS application in seepage monitoring strongly depends on the following factors: installation approach, calibration technique, along with temperature data interpretation and post-processing. This paper reviews the different techniques for calibration of DTS measurements as well as the methods of interpretation of the temperature data.
Keywords: calibration; data interpretation; optical fiber DTS; seepage; temperature.