A Comparison of Near-Surface Current Measurement Methods

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Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



acoustic equipment, Doppler measurement, oceanographic equipment, underwater sound, single-cell acoustic Doppler current meter, acoustic beams, surface buoy, west Florida continental shelf, near-surface velocity observations, acoustic Doppler velocimeter, rotary auto spectra analysis, cross spectra analysis, veering angle, water depth, tidal band, synoptic band, sea surface, Current measurement, Velocity measurement, Pollution measurement, Acoustic measurements, Sea surface, Sea measurements, Acoustic beams, Surface acoustic waves, Blanking, Ocean temperature

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



A solution to measuring near-surface currents via a single-cell acoustic Doppler current meter with horizontally oriented acoustic beams positioned very close to the sea surface is presented. The current meter was deployed on a surface buoy on the 25 m isobath of the west Florida continental shelf. Near-surface velocity observations from the current meter (1.1 m depth) are compared to estimates from a surface mounted acoustic Doppler velocimeter (0.8 m depth) and the first several cells of a downward looking acoustic Doppler current profiler (4.0 m to 13.0 m depth). Rotary auto spectra and cross spectra analyses are used to examine the velocity gain and veering angle at different frequencies as a function of water depth. Results indicate that velocity measurements at 1.1 m were 7% higher in the M2 tidal band and 18% higher in the synoptic band than measurements at 7.0 m. There was negligible near-surface velocity rotation in both the tidal band and the synoptic band compared with measurements at 7.0 m.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Presented at the IEEE Working Conference on Current Measurement Technology in March 2008 in Charlston, SC