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Monitoring flow and fluxes of suspended sediment in rivers using side-looking acoustic Doppler current profilers

Abstract : The work investigates the feasibility of using horizontal acoustic Doppler current profilers (H-ADCPs) to monitor fluxes of water and suspended sediment in rivers. Year-long data sets acquired with H-ADCPs operating at 300, 600 and 1200 kHz at four sites with varying geometries and flow forcing conditions on the Rhône, Saône and Isère rivers are analyzed. Findings show that limited depth can pose a problem due to scattering of a fraction of the acoustic energy from the air-water interface. A second problem arises when the backscattered intensity from the suspended sediment is too weak; this leads to underestimation or higher variability of the velocity estimates compared to reference values. Nevertheless, index-velocity relationships are established as a function of concentration and intensity in order to correct the velocity measurements. Concentrations of suspended sediment can be determined from the acoustic attenuation, which is substantial for silt-sized particles at concentrations >= 100 mg/L. Attenuation constants obtained by comparison with turbidity data are in good agreement with the theoretical values calculated for the measured grain size distributions of the primary particles. The acoustic measurements of concentration are in good agreement with reference methods in terms of both amplitude and temporal resolution. Grain size is determined from multi-frequency attenuation data, accounting for lognormal grain size distributions. Our findings show that once the limits of accurate velocity measurements are well established for a given site and instrument, the side-looking ADCP can be a valuable tool for monitoring concentration and changes in grain size throughout high concentration events such as floods.
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  • HAL Id : tel-02596852, version 1
  • IRSTEA : PUB00034988

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S.A. Moore. Monitoring flow and fluxes of suspended sediment in rivers using side-looking acoustic Doppler current profilers. Environmental Sciences. Doctorat Sciences de la Terre et de l'Univers et de l'Environnement, Université de Grenoble, 2011. English. ⟨tel-02596852⟩

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