Measurement of near-bed sediment velocities with acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) is an emerging approach for quantifying bed-load sediment fluxes in rivers. Previous investigations of the technique have relied on conventional physical bed-load sampling to provide reference transport information with which to validate the ADCP measurements. However, physical samples are subject to substantial errors, especially under field conditions in which surrogate methods are most needed. Comparisons between ADCP bed velocity measurements with bed-load transport rates estimated from bed-form migration rates in the lower Missouri River show a strong correlation between the two surrogate measures over a wide range of mild to moderately intense sediment transporting conditions. The correlation between the ADCP measurements and physical bed-load samples is comparatively poor, suggesting that physical bed-load sampling is ineffective for ground-truthing alternative techniques in large sand-bed rivers. Bed velocities measured in this study became more variable with increasing bed-form wavelength at higher shear stresses. Under these conditions, bed-form dimensions greatly exceed the region of the bed ensonified by the ADCP, and the magnitude of the acoustic measurements depends on instrument location with respect to bed-form crests and troughs. Alternative algorithms for estimating bed-load transport from paired longitudinal profiles of bed topography were evaluated. An algorithm based on the routing of local erosion and deposition volumes that eliminates the need to identify individual bed forms was found to give results similar to those of more conventional dune-tracking methods. This method is particularly useful in cases where complex bed-form morphology makes delineation of individual bed forms difficult. ?? 2007 ASCE.
Additional publication details
Field assessment of alternative bed-load transport estimators