Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler

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Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler

© All Rights Reserved

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make discharge measurements by use of an Acoustic Doppler Current

Profiler (ADCP). An ADCP uses the principles of the Doppler Effect

to measure the velocity of water. The Doppler Effect is the

phenomenon we experience when passed by a car or train that is

sounding its horn. As the car or train passes, the sound of the horn

seems to drop in frequency.

The ADCP uses the Doppler Effect to determine water velocity by

sending a sound pulse into the water and measuring the change in

frequency of that sound pulse reflected back to the ADCP by sediment

or other particulates being transported in the water. The change in

frequency, or Doppler Shift, that is measured by the ADCP is

translated into water velocity. The sound is transmitted into the water

from a transducer to the bottom of the river (diagram below) and

receives return signals throughout the entire depth. The ADCP also

uses acoustics to measure water depth by measuring the travel time of

a pulse of sound to reach the river bottom at back to the ADCP.

mounted onto a boat or into a small watercraft (diagram above) with

its acoustic beams directed into the water from the water surface. The

ADCP is then guided across the surface of the river to obtain

measurements of velocity and depth across the channel. The riverbottom tracking capability of the ADCP acoustic beams or a Global

Positioning System (GPS) is used to track the progress of the ADCP

across the channel and provide channel-width measurements. Using

the depth and width measurements for calculating the area and the

velocity measurements, the discharge is computed by the ADCP using

discharge = area velocity, similar to the conventional current-meter

method. Acoustic velocity meters have also been developed for

making wading measurements (picture to the left).

The ADCP has proven to be beneficial to streamgaging in several

ways. The use of ADCPs has reduced the time it takes to make a

discharge measurement. The ADCP allows discharge measurements to

be made in some flooding conditions that were not previously

possible. Lastly, the ADCP provides a detailed profile of water

velocity and direction for the majority of a cross section instead of

just at point locations with a mechanical current meter; this improves

the discharge measurement accuracy.

Bucket method

The Bucket method is a simple way to measure the flow rate using

household items. It requires a stopwatch, a large bucket, and

preferably two to three people. To measure the flow rate using the

bucket method:

1. Measure the volume of the bucket or container. Keep in mind

that a typical 5 gallon bucket is often actually less than 5

gallons.

2. Find a location along the stream that has a waterfall. If none can

be found, a waterfall can be constructed using a weir.

3. With a stopwatch, time how long it takes the waterfall to fill the

bucket with water. Start the stopwatch simultaneously with the

start of the bucket being filled and stop the stopwatch when the

bucket fills. The bucket should not be filled by holding it below

the surface of the stream because it is not the true flow rate.

4. Record the time it takes to fill the bucket.

5. Repeat steps two and three about six or seven times and take the

average. It is a good idea to do a few trial runs before recording

any data so that one can get a feel for the timing and

measurements required.

the stream interfering with the flow.

7. The flow rate is the volume of the bucket divided by the average

time it took to fill the bucket.

Float method

The float method (also known as the cross-sectional method) is used

to measure the flow rate for larger streams and rivers. It is found by

multiplying a cross sectional area of the stream by the velocity of the

water. To measure the flow rate using the float method:

1. Locate a spot in the stream that will act as the cross section of

the stream.

2. Using a meter stick, or some other means of measurement,

measure the depth of the stream at equal intervals along the

width of the stream (see Figure Three). This method is similar

to hand calculating a Riemann sum for the width of the river.

3. Once this data is gathered, multiply each depth by the interval it

was taken in and add all the amounts together. This calculation

is the area of a cross section of the stream.

4. Decide on a length of the stream, typically longer than the width

of the river, to send a floating object down (oranges work

2009.)

5. Using a stopwatch, measure the time it takes the float to travel

down the length of stream from step 4.

6. Repeat step five 5-10 times and determine the average time

taken for the float to travel the stream. Throw the float into the

water at differnet distances from the shoreline in order to gain a

more accuartate average.

7. Divide the stream length found in step 4 by the average time in

step 6 to determine the average velocity of the stream.

8. The velocity found in step 7 must be multiplied by a friction

correction factor. Since the top of a stream flows faster than the

bottom due to friction against the stream bed, the friction

correction factor evens out the flow. For rough or rocky

bottoms, multiply the velocity by 0.85. For smooth, muddy,

sandy, or smooth bedrock conditions, multiply the velocity by a

correction factor of 0.9. [4]

9. The corrected velocity multiplied by the cross sectional area

yields the flow rate in volume/time. (Be sure to keep consistent

units of length/distance when measuring the cross section and

the velocity eg. meters, feet)

Flo

The Flow Probe's

The Global Water Flow Probe is a highly accurate

Turbo-Prop

water velocity instrument for measuring flows in

open channels and partially filled pipes. The water

velocity probe consists of a protected water turbo

prop positive displacement sensor coupled with an

expandable probe handle ending in a digital readout

display. The water flow meter incorporates true

velocity averaging for the most accurate flow

The Flow Probe's

measurements. The Flow Probe is ideal for storm

Digital Readout

water runoff studies, sewer flow measurements,

Display

measuring flows in rivers and streams, and

monitoring water velocity in ditches and canals.

Turbo-Prop Sensor

The Flow Probe incorporates the unique Turbo-Prop propeller sensor,

which uses the most accurate positive displacement technique

available for velocity sensing. The Turbo-Prop is designed to shed

debris and is protected inside a 2 inch diameter housing. The probe

housing may be placed directly on the bottom of a pipe or streambed

for measuring low flows down to 2 inches in depth. The flow meter

propeller rotates freely on its bearing shaft with no mechanical

interconnections for minimal friction. Magnetic material in the

propeller tip passes a pickup point in the water velocity meter handle

producing electrical impulses that are carried to the readout display by

an internal cable. The Turbo-Prop is easily removed for cleaning or

replacement. NOTE: Global Water recommends recalibrating the

water velocity computer every time the Turbo-Prob sensor is

replaced. Contact our Technical Support department for more details.

The water velocity computer receives an electrical signal from the

propeller, amplifies the signal, and converts the reading to feet per

second (or meters per second, depending on programming). The large

LCD screen displays average, minimum, and maximum water

velocity readings. Up to 30 sets of minimum, maximum, and average

data readings can be stored in the water velocity computer. These

data points can be reviewed on the computer screen for later analysis.

The water velocity computer has a water-resistant housing and

incorporates a unique four-button operation for changing functions

and resetting the display. The water velocity computer is powered by

a non-replaceable battery that will last approximately five years with

normal use. Low battery warnings will also display as appropriate.

Flow Probe Handle

The Flow Probe handle can telescope from 3.7 feet to 6 feet in length

(FP111), 5.5 feet to 14 feet (FP211), or 2.5 feet to 5.5 feet (FP311).

The handle is constructed of anodized aluminum for light weight and

long life. The 14 foot length of the FP211, Flow Probe, allows for

measuring sewer flows from street level and measuring stream flows

from low bridges. While the 2.5 foot collapsed length of the FP311,

Flow Probe is ideal for carrying into remote flow monitoring areas. A

3-foot (1.7-feet for the FP311) mylar coated staff gauge (graduated in

hundredths of a foot and centimeters) is attached to the lower section

of the water velocity probe for instant water depth measurements and

accurate propeller positioning.

True Velocity Averaging

The Flow Probe can be used to measure the true average water

velocity of a channel's flow. As long as the turbo-prop sensor is in the

water flow, the computer will average the water velocity. One reading

is taken per second, and a continuous average water velocity is

displayed. To obtain the true average velocity the flow probe should

be slowly moved throughout the cross sectional area being measured.

Once the reading becomes steady, the true average water velocity of

the cross sectional area is obtained. This allows for highly accurate

flow measurements, which average the differences in velocities that

occur throughout a flow's cross-section and with water surges over

time. The average water velocity can be saved by pressing the SAVE

button and reviewed later.

Optional Swivel Head

The Flow Probe Swivel Head option allows you to rotate the flow

probe's turbo prop to + 90 degrees from it's standard position. This

option lets the flow probe take water velocity measurements in hard to

measure areas such as vertical pipes on water tanks or swimming pool

drainage systems.

Optional Alignment Fin

Significant errors can occur when measuring water flow other than

directly parallel to the direction of flow. The Global Water Flow

Probe Alignment Fin is designed to help orient the flow probe parallel

to flow when the end of the probe can't be seen well due to the depth

or cloudiness of the water. To use this accessory, immerse the flow

probe and rotate it back and forth until the least amount of resistance

is felt due to the water flowing past the alignment fin.

volume of water moving through a channel per unit time, of a stream.

The height of water in the stream channel, known as a stage or gage

height, can be used to determine the dischage in a stream. When used

in conjunction with velocity and cross-sectional area measurements,

stage height can be related to discharge for a stream. If a weir or

flume (devices, generally made of concrete, located in a stream

channel that have a constant, known shape and size) is used,

mathematical equations based on the weir or flume shape can be used

in conjunction with stage height, negating the need for velocity

measurements.

Steams Gauge

stage height and velocity at a series of points in a cross-section of a

stream or by constructing a flume or weir and recording stage height.

Stage height can be measured using a ruler, or a pressure transducer or

stilling well connected to a data logger. Stream gauging methods will

be discussed in further detail below.

Measuring Stage and Velocity to Determine Discharge Via The

Velocity-Area Method

interval of time, can be determined with the equation:

Q = AV,

where Q is discharge (volume/unit time-e.g. m3/second, also called

the average velocity (e.g. m/s).

Stream water velocity is typically measured using a current meter.

Current meters generally consist of a propeller or a horizontal wheel

with small, cone-shaped cups attached to it which fill with water and

turn the wheel when placed in flowing water. The number of rotations

of the propeller or wheel-cup mechanism corresponds with the

velocity of the water flowing in the stream. Water flowing within a

stream is subject to friction from both the stream bed and the air

above the stream. Thus, when taking water velocity measurements, it

is conventional to measure flow at 0.6 times the total depth, which

typically represents the average flow velocity in the stream. This is

achieved by attaching the current meter to a height-calibrated rod. The

rod can also be used to measure stream stage height. If a current meter

is not available, another technique known as the float method can be

used to measure velocity. While less accurate, this method requires

limited and easy to obtain equipment. To measure velocity via the

float method, one simply measures the time it takes for a floating

object (such as an orange peel) to travel a measured distance. Velocity

is then calculated by dividing the distance traveled by the time it takes

for it to travel that distance.

Velocity also varies within the cross-section of a stream, where stream

banks are associated with greater friction, and hence slower moving

water. Thus, it is necessary to take velocity measurements along a

cross-section of a stream. Since stream channels are rarely straight, it

is helpful to measure velocity across an "average" reach of the stream

(e.g. average width and depth) with a single channel, a relatively flat

stream bed with little vegetation and rocks, and few back-eddies that

hinder current meter movement.

Discharge is measured by integrating the area and velocity of each

point across the stream; that is, the stream is divided into sections

based on where velocity and stage height measurements were taken in

the cross-section of the stream. By multiplying the cross-sectional

area (width of section x stage height) by the velocity, one can

calculate the discharge for that section of stream. The discharge from

from the stream.

Discharge and stage height are often found to be empirically related

and this relationship can be elucidated using a rating curve. A rating

curve is constructed by graphing several manually derived discharge

measurements (e.g. measured using method described above) with a

corresponding stage height. A best-fit curve is fit to these data points

and the equation of the line corresponds to the relationship between

stage and discharge. The greater the number of measurements, the

more reliable the rating curve will be to determine discharge based on

stage data.

Discharge in small streams can be conveniently measured using a

weir. A weir is a small dam with a spillway, usually made of erosionresistant material such as concrete, of a specific shape. Two common

weir shapes are a 90 V-notch or a simple rectangular cutout. This

method for measuring discharge involves creating a dam just

downstream of the weir. This dam impounds in the weir, resulting in a

more or less consistent stage height (e.g. a pool of more stagnant

water without complications determining height due to waves or

ripples). Using the height of water in the weir, one can determine

discharge using one of the following empirically-derived equations:

Rectangular weir:

Q = 3.33 (L-0.2H)H3/2, for measurements in feet;

Q = 1.84 (L-0.2H)H2/3, for measurements in meters.

90 V-notch weir:

Q = 2.5H5/2, for measurements in feet;

Q = 1.379H5/2, for measurements in meters.

Q represents discharge (ft3/s or m3/s), L is the length of the weir crest

you can see, these equations negate the need for measuring point

velocities and are generally more reliable since the concrete

construction of the weir resists change in channel shape, which is a

confounding factor when using the velocity-area method to determine

discharge.

The Manning Equation

A simple equation, known as the Manning equation, can be used to

estimate water velocity in an open channel. The Manning equation is:

V = 1.49R2/3S1/2/n, for measurements in feet

Or

V = R2/3S1/2/n, for measurements in meters,

where V is the average velocity (ft/s or m/s), R is the hydraulic radius

(the ratio of cross-sectional area of flow in ft2 or m2 to the wetted

perimeter in ft or m-see diagram to define this factor), S is the energy

gradient or slope of the water surface, and n is the Manning roughness

coefficient (estimated based on published values, some of which are

shown in the table below).

Results Analysis

Discharge measurements using the velocity-area method without the

use of a weir provide a good estimate for stream flow and discharge.

However, this method assumes several things, including a constant

erosive, dynamic systems), a strong relationship between stage height

and discharge, and little human error in measuring velocity, stage

height, and cross-sectional area. A weir provides a more reliable

measurement due to consistency in channel cross-sectional area and

depth, but equations associated with weir discharge measurements

were empirically derived, and thus may also have error associated

with them due to variability among stream systems. In any case, the

greater the number of measurements to derive a ratings curve, the

better since a greater range in measurements will be provided.

Furthermore, keep in mind that ratings curve measurements may fit a

number of lines/equations, depending on environmental factors such

as times of snowmelt, where discharge may increase rapidly or times

of drought when discharge may be immeasurable via this technique.

VELOCITY/AREA METHOD

This depends on measuring the average velocity of flow and the

cross-sectional area of the channel and calculating the flow from:

Q(m3/s) = A(m2) x V(m/s)

The metric unit m3/s is referred to as the cumec. Because m3/s is a

large unit, smaller flows are measured in litres per second (l/s).

A simple way to estimate the velocity is to measure the time taken for

a floating object to travel a measured distance downstream. The

velocity is not the same at all places in the stream, being slower at the

sides and bottom, and faster on the surface, as shown in Figure 20.

Taking 0.8 of the surface velocity as measured by the float gives an

approximate value for the average velocity. Alternatively, the velocity

can be measured below the surface by attaching a submerged weight

to a float. The float and weight move down the stream together at the

velocity of the stream at the depth where the weight is suspended. At

about half the stream depth, the velocity is approximately the same as

the average velocity for the whole stream. Float methods are only

suitable for straight streams or canals where the flow is fairly even

and regular.

coloured dye, and to measure the time for this to flow a measured

distance downstream. The dye should be added quickly with a sharp

cutoff, so that it travels downstream in a cloud. The time is measured

for the first and last of the dye to reach the downstream measuring

point and an average of the two times is used to calculate the average

velocity.

In turbulent streams the cloud of dye is dispersed quickly and cannot

be observed and measured, but other tracers can be used, either

chemical or radio-isotopes, in what is called the dilution method. A

solution of the tracer of known strength is added to the stream at a

constant measured rate and samples are taken at points downstream.

The concentration of the sample taken downstream can be compared

with the concentration of the added tracer and the dilution is a

function of the rate of flow which can be calculated.

More accurate determination of velocity can be obtained by using a

current meter. The two main types are illustrated in Figure 21. The

conical cup type revolves about a vertical axis, and the propeller type

about a horizontal axis. In each case the speed of revolution is

proportional to the velocity, and the number of revolutions in a given

time is counted, either on a digital counter or as clicks heard in

earphones worn by an operator. In shallow streams small current

meters will be mounted on rods and held by wading operators (Plate

23). When measurements of floodflows are to be measured on big

rivers, the readings are taken either from a bridge, or an overhead

cableway is installed well above maximum flood level, and the

current meter is lowered on cables into the river with weights to hold

it against the riverflow.

A current meter measures the velocity at a single point, and several

measurements are required to calculate the total flow. The procedure

is to measure and plot on graph paper the cross-section of the stream

and to imagine that it is divided into strips of equal width as shown in

Figure 22. The average velocity for each strip is estimated from the

mean of the velocity measured at 0.2 and 0.8 of the depth in that strip.

This velocity, times the area of the strip, gives the flow for the strip

and the total flow is the sum of the strips. Table 2 shows how the

more strips would be used than the number shown in Figure 22 and

Table 2. For shallow water a single reading is taken at 0.6 of the depth

instead of averaging the readings at 0.2 and 0.8 of the depth.

Sometimes the information required on streamflow is the maximum

flood flow, and a rough estimate can be made using the velocity/area

method. The maximum depth of flow in a stream can sometimes be

deduced from the height of leaves and trash caught in vegetation on

the bankside, or from the highest signs of scour or sediment deposits

on the bank. Alternatively some device can be installed which is

designed to leave a record of the maximum level. To prevent false

readings from turbulence in the stream, some kind of stilling well is

used - usually a pipe with holes on the downstream side. The

maximum depth of water can be recorded on a rod painted with a

water soluble paint, or from traces left at the highest level from

something floated on the water surface in the tube. Materials used

have included ground cork, chalk dust and ground charcoal. Knowing

the maximum depth of flow, the corresponding cross-section area of

the channel can be measured, and the velocity estimated by one of the

methods described, bearing in mind that the velocity at high flood will

usually be faster than the normal flow.

The velocity of water flowing in a stream or open channel is affected

by a number of factors.

increases when the gradient is steeper.

Roughness. The contact between the water and the streambank

causes a frictional resistance which depends on the smoothness or

roughness of the channel. In natural streams the amount of vegetation

affects the roughness, and also any unevenness which causes

turbulence.

Shape. Channels can have the same cross-sectional area, gradient

and roughness, but still have different velocities of flow according to

their shape. The reason is that water close to the sides and bottom of a

stream channel is slowed by the friction effect, so a channel shape

which provides least area of contact with the water will have least

frictional resistance and so a greater velocity. The parameter used to

measure this effect of shape is called the hydraulic radius of the

channel. It is defined as the cross-sectional area divided by the wetted

perimeter, which is the length of the bed and sides of the channel

which are in contact with the water. Hydraulic radius thus has units of

length, and it may be represented by either M or R. It is also

sometimes called hydraulic mean radius or hydraulic mean depth.

Figure 24 shows how channels can have the same cross-sectional area

but a different hydraulic radius. If all other factors are constant, then

the lower the value of R, the lower will be the velocity.

All these variables which affect velocity of flow have been brought

together in a very useful empirical equation called the Manning

formula, which is:

where:

V

denote hydraulic radius, standing for Mean Hydraulic Depth)

S is the average gradient of the channel in metres per metre (the

letter i is also used to denote gradient)

n is a coefficient, known as Manning's n, or Manning's

roughness coefficient. Some values for channel flow are listed in

Table

3.

Strictly speaking, the gradient of the water surface should be used in

the Manning formula and this may not be the same as the gradient of

the streambed when the stream is rising or falling. However, it is not

easy to measure the level of the surface accurately and so an average

of the channel gradient is usually calculated from the difference in

elevation between several sets of points each 100 metres apart.

Nomographs are available to assist solving the Manning formula, and

an example is shown in Figure 25.

Another simple empirical formula for estimating velocity of flow

is Elliot's open-ditch formula which is:

where:

V

suitable for free-flowing natural streams with low roughness.

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