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Turbulence Measurement from an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

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  • 1 Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport Division, Newport, Rhode Island
  • | 2 Centre for Earth and Ocean Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Abstract

Horizontal profiles of the microstructure of velocity and temperature were obtained with a large autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) using two piezoelectric shear probes, an FP07 thermistor, and three orthogonal accelerometers mounted on a sting at the forward end of the vehicle. A winter field trial in Narragansett Bay provided a run in the midwater pycnocline at 8-m depth that contained a thermal front, an ascending profile to 3-m depth, and a run in the weakly stratified surface layer at this depth. Although shear spectra were strongly contaminated by narrowband vibrations produced by the motor and actuators, this contamination was highly coherent with the measured acceleration and was removed with standard signal processing techniques. The corrected spectra agreed well with the Nasmyth universal spectrum for wavenumbers up to 40 cpm. The estimated rate of dissipation of kinetic energy varied from 0.8 to 250 × 10−8 W kg−1 and was consistent with the rate of production of turbulence by surface wind forcing and bottom stress.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Edward R. Levine, Dept. of the Navy, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, 1178 Howell St., Newport, RI 02841-1708.

Email: levineer@tech.npt.nuwc.navy.mil

Abstract

Horizontal profiles of the microstructure of velocity and temperature were obtained with a large autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) using two piezoelectric shear probes, an FP07 thermistor, and three orthogonal accelerometers mounted on a sting at the forward end of the vehicle. A winter field trial in Narragansett Bay provided a run in the midwater pycnocline at 8-m depth that contained a thermal front, an ascending profile to 3-m depth, and a run in the weakly stratified surface layer at this depth. Although shear spectra were strongly contaminated by narrowband vibrations produced by the motor and actuators, this contamination was highly coherent with the measured acceleration and was removed with standard signal processing techniques. The corrected spectra agreed well with the Nasmyth universal spectrum for wavenumbers up to 40 cpm. The estimated rate of dissipation of kinetic energy varied from 0.8 to 250 × 10−8 W kg−1 and was consistent with the rate of production of turbulence by surface wind forcing and bottom stress.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Edward R. Levine, Dept. of the Navy, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, 1178 Howell St., Newport, RI 02841-1708.

Email: levineer@tech.npt.nuwc.navy.mil

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