In order to investigate the interactions between turbulence and suspended sediment transport in natural aqueous environments, we ideally require a technique that allows simultaneous measurement of fluid velocity and sediment concentration for the whole flow field. Here, we report on development of a methodology using the water column acoustic backscatter signal from a multibeam echo sounder to simultaneously quantify flow velocities and sediment concentrations. The application of this new technique is illustrated with reference to flow over the leeside of an alluvial sand dune, which allows, for the first time in a field study, quantitative visualization of large-scale, whole flow field, turbulent coherent flow structures associated with the dune leeside that are responsible for suspending bed sediment. This methodology holds great potential for use in a wide range of aqueous geophysical flows.
Additional publication details
A new methodology for the quantitative visualization of coherent flow structures in alluvial channels using multibeam echo-sounding (MBES)