Validation of High-resolution ADCP Measurements of TKE Dissipation Influenced by Waves

Elias Marchetti, Thomas Culverhouse, Thomas Comerford, Alex Nimmo-Smith

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


This study evaluates the capability of the new Origin 600 (Sonardyne) high-resolution five-beam Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) to measure turbulence in shallow coastal waters influenced by surface waves. Evaluation was done through comparison between bedframe-mounted, upwards-facing ADCP data and a free-falling MicroStructure Sampler (MSS) shear probe, in turbulent flow conditions characteristic of the Tamar River channel in Plymouth Sound, UK. While commonly used to measure water column velocity, the low resolution of conventional ADCPs severely reduces their ability to estimate finescale turbulence. The new Sonardyne Origin 600 ADCP allows for much higher along-beam resolution of up to 1.2 cm, granting an unprecedented outlook into water column turbulent characteristics. ADCP-based Turbulent Kinetic Energy (TKE) dissipation estimates were computed through a second order structure function for each ADCP beam. Sets of 5, 11 and 17 radial separations and spatial velocity averaging combinations of 10, 25 and 50 cells per bin were compared to reference MSS-measured dissipation data, for six measurement segments ranging from 10 to 18 minutes. Surface wave field conditions above the ADCP unit were evaluated through power spectrum density performed on wave heights computed from ADCP echo intensity, estimating wave induced TKE dissipation contamination. Although further research is required to fully evaluate the accuracy of their TKE dissipation estimations, this study found that a high-resolution ADCP is a versatile tool to continuously evaluate finescale turbulence in shallow and energetic water columns, especially when compared to a lower-resolution MSS. High-resolution ADCP data can also be binned after capture, allowing for a tailored approach when measuring differing water column conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2024 IEEE/OES 13th Current, Waves and Turbulence Measurement, CWTM 2024
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9798350393910
ISBN (Print)9798350394016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Mar 2024
Event13th IEEE/OES Current, Waves and Turbulence Measurement, CWTM 2024 - Wanchese, USA United States
Duration: 18 Mar 202420 Mar 2024

Publication series

Name2024 IEEE/OES 13th Current, Waves and Turbulence Measurement, CWTM 2024


Conference13th IEEE/OES Current, Waves and Turbulence Measurement, CWTM 2024
Country/TerritoryUSA United States


  • ADCP
  • Shear probe
  • Turbulent Kinetic Energy Dissipation
  • Wave Energy
  • Wave Orbital Velocity
  • Wave Spectrum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Instrumentation

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