Acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) have been in use in the riverine environment for nearly 20 years. Their application primarily has been focused on the measurement of streamflow discharge. ADCPs emit high-frequency sound pulses and receive reflected sound echoes from sediment particles in the water column. The Doppler shift between transmitted and return signals is resolved into a velocity component that is measured in three dimensions by simultaneously transmitting four independent acoustical pulses. To measure the absolute velocity magnitude and direction in the water column, the velocity magnitude and direction of the instrument must also be computed. Typically this is accomplished by ensonifying the streambed with an acoustical pulse that also provides a depth measurement for each of the four acoustic beams. Sediment transport on or near the streambed will bias these measurements and requires external positioning such as a differentially corrected Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Although the influence of hydraulic structures such as spur dikes and bridge piers is typically only measured and described in one or two dimensions, the use of differentially corrected GPS with ADCPs provides a fully three-dimensional measurement of the magnitude and direction of the water column at such structures. The measurement of these flow disturbances in a field setting also captures the natural pulsations of river flow that cannot be easily quantified or modeled by numerical simulations or flumes. Several examples of measured three-dimensional flow conditions at bridge sites throughout Alaska are presented. The bias introduced to the bottom-track measurement is being investigated as a surrogate measurement of bedload transport. By fixing the position of the ADCP for a known period of time the apparent velocity of the streambed at that position can be determined. Initial results and comparison to traditionally measured bedload values are presented. These initial results and those by other researchers are helping to determine a direction for further research of noncontact measurements of sediment transport. Copyright ASCE 2005.
Additional Publication Details
Application of acoustic doppler current profilers for measuring three-dimensional flow fields and as a surrogate measurement of bedload transport
2005 World Water and Environmental Resources Congress