Using an ADCP to Estimate Turbulent Kinetic Energy Dissipation Rate in Sheltered Coastal Waters

A. D. Greene Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, Rhode Island

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P. J. Hendricks Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, Rhode Island

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M. C. Gregg Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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Abstract

Turbulent microstructure and acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) data were collected near Tacoma Narrows in Puget Sound, Washington. Over 100 coincident microstructure profiles have been compared to ADCP estimates of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate (ϵ). ADCP dissipation rates were calculated using the large-eddy method with theoretically determined corrections for sensor noise on rms velocity and integral-scale calculations. This work is an extension of Ann Gargett’s approach, which used a narrowband ADCP in regions with intense turbulence and strong vertical velocities. Here, a broadband ADCP is used to measure weaker turbulence and achieve greater horizontal and vertical resolution relative to the narrowband ADCP. Estimates of ϵ from the Modular Microstructure Profiler (MMP) and broadband ADCP show good quantitative agreement over nearly three decades of dissipation rate, 3 × 10−8–10−5 m2 s−3. This technique is most readily applied when the turbulent velocity is greater than the ADCP velocity uncertainty (σ) and the ADCP cell size is within a factor of 2 of the Thorpe scale. The 600-kHz broadband ADCP used in this experiment yielded a noise floor of 3 mm s−1 for 3-m vertical bins and 2-m along-track average (≈four pings), which resulted in turbulence levels measureable with the ADCP as weak as 3 × 10−8 m2 s−3. The value and trade-off of changing the ADCP cell size, which reduces noise but also changes the ratio of the Thorpe scale to the cell size, are discussed as well.

Corresponding author address: Andrew D. Greene, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, 1176 Howell St., Newport, RI 02841. E-mail: andrew.d.greene@navy.mil

Abstract

Turbulent microstructure and acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) data were collected near Tacoma Narrows in Puget Sound, Washington. Over 100 coincident microstructure profiles have been compared to ADCP estimates of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate (ϵ). ADCP dissipation rates were calculated using the large-eddy method with theoretically determined corrections for sensor noise on rms velocity and integral-scale calculations. This work is an extension of Ann Gargett’s approach, which used a narrowband ADCP in regions with intense turbulence and strong vertical velocities. Here, a broadband ADCP is used to measure weaker turbulence and achieve greater horizontal and vertical resolution relative to the narrowband ADCP. Estimates of ϵ from the Modular Microstructure Profiler (MMP) and broadband ADCP show good quantitative agreement over nearly three decades of dissipation rate, 3 × 10−8–10−5 m2 s−3. This technique is most readily applied when the turbulent velocity is greater than the ADCP velocity uncertainty (σ) and the ADCP cell size is within a factor of 2 of the Thorpe scale. The 600-kHz broadband ADCP used in this experiment yielded a noise floor of 3 mm s−1 for 3-m vertical bins and 2-m along-track average (≈four pings), which resulted in turbulence levels measureable with the ADCP as weak as 3 × 10−8 m2 s−3. The value and trade-off of changing the ADCP cell size, which reduces noise but also changes the ratio of the Thorpe scale to the cell size, are discussed as well.

Corresponding author address: Andrew D. Greene, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, 1176 Howell St., Newport, RI 02841. E-mail: andrew.d.greene@navy.mil
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