Repeated surveys by acoustic Doppler current profiler for flow and sediment dynamics in a tidal river

Journal of Hydrology

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2005.03.019



A strategy of repeated surveys by acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) was applied in a tidal river to map velocity vectors and suspended-sediment indicators. The Sacramento River at the junction with the Delta Cross Channel at Walnut Grove, California, was surveyed over several tidal cycles in the Fall of 2000 and 2001 with a vessel-mounted ADCP. Velocity profiles were recorded along flow-defining survey paths, with surveys repeated every 27 min through a diurnal tidal cycle. Velocity vectors along each survey path were interpolated to a three-dimensional Cartesian grid that conformed to local bathymetry. A separate array of vectors was interpolated onto a grid from each survey. By displaying interpolated vector grids sequentially with computer animation, flow dynamics of the reach could be studied in three-dimensions as flow responded to the tidal cycle. Velocity streamtraces in the grid showed the upwelling of flow from the bottom of the Sacramento River channel into the Delta Cross Channel. The sequential display of vector grids showed that water in the canal briefly returned into the Sacramento River after peak flood tides, which had not been known previously. In addition to velocity vectors, ADCP data were processed to derive channel bathymetry and a spatial indicator for suspended-sediment concentration. Individual beam distances to bed, recorded by the ADCP, were transformed to yield bathymetry accurate enough to resolve small bedforms within the study reach. While recording velocity, ADCPs also record the intensity of acoustic backscatter from particles suspended in the flow. Sequential surveys of backscatter intensity were interpolated to grids and animated to indicate the spatial movement of suspended sediment through the study reach. Calculation of backscatter flux through cross-sectional grids provided a first step for computation of suspended-sediment discharge, the second step being a calibrated relation between backscatter intensity and sediment concentration. Spatial analyses of ADCP data showed that a strategy of repeated surveys and flow-field interpolation has the potential to simplify computation of flow and sediment discharge through complex waterways. The use of trade, product, industry, or firm names in this report is for descriptive purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of products by the US Government. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Repeated surveys by acoustic Doppler current profiler for flow and sediment dynamics in a tidal river
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Journal of Hydrology
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