Field Assessment of Acoustic-Doppler Based Discharge Measurements

Edited by:
Wahl T.L.Pugh C.A.Oberg K.A.Vermeyen T.B.Wahl T.L.Pugh C.A.Oberg K.A.Vermeyen T.B.


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The use of equipment based on the Doppler principle for measuring water velocity and computing discharge is common within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The instruments and software have changed appreciably during the last 5 years; therefore, the USGS has begun a field validation of the instruments currently (2002) available for making discharge measurements from a moving boat in streams of various sizes. Instruments manufactured by SonTek/YSI2 and RD Instruments, Inc. were used to collect discharge data at five different sites. One or more traditional discharge measurements were made by the use of a Price AA current meter and standard USGS procedures with the acoustic instruments at each site during data collection. The discharges measured with the acoustic instruments were compared with the discharges measured with Price AA meters and the current USGS stage-discharge rating for each site. The mean discharges measured by each acoustic instrument were within 5 percent of the Price AA-based measurement and (or) discharge from the stage-discharge rating. Additional analysis of the data collected indicates that the coefficient of variation of the discharge measurements consistently was less for the RD Instruments, Inc. Rio Grandes than it was for the SonTek/YSI RiverSurveyors. The bottom-tracking referenced measurement had a lower coefficient of variation than the differentially corrected global positioning system referenced measurements. It was observed that the higher frequency RiverSurveyors measured a moving bed more often than the lower frequency Rio Grandes. The detection of a moving bed caused RiverSurveyors to be consistently biased low when referenced to bottom tracking. Differentially corrected global positioning system data may be used to remove the bias observed in the bottom-tracking referenced measurements.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Field Assessment of Acoustic-Doppler Based Discharge Measurements
Year Published:
Larger Work Title:
Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods
First page:
Last page:
Conference Title:
Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods 2002
Conference Location:
Estes Park, CO
Conference Date:
28 July 2002 through 1 August 2002