A method to quantify bedform height and asymmetry from a low-mounted sidescan sonar
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KeywordOcean; Acoustic measurements/effects; Algorithms; In situ oceanic observations; Instrumentation/sensors
Rotary sidescan sonars are widely used to image the seabed given their high temporal and spatial resolution. This high resolution is necessary to resolve bedform dynamics and evolution; however, sidescan sonars do not directly measure bathymetry, limiting their utility. When sidescan sonars are mounted close to the seabed, bedforms may create acoustical “shadows” that render previous methods that invert the backscatter intensity to estimate bathymetry and are based on the assumption of a fully insonified seabed ineffective. This is especially true in coastal regions, where bedforms are common features whose large height relative to the water depth may significantly influence the surrounding flow. A method is described that utilizes sonar shadows to estimate bedform height and asymmetry. The method accounts for the periodic structure of bedform fields and the projection of the shadows onto adjacent bedforms. It is validated with bathymetric observations of wave-orbital ripples, with wavelengths ranging from 0.3 to 0.8 m, and tidally reversing megaripples, with wavelengths from 5 to 8 m. In both cases, bathymetric-measuring sonars were deployed in addition to a rotary sidescan sonar to provide a ground truth; however, the bathymetric sonars typically measure different and smaller areas than the rotary sidescan sonar. The shadow-based method and bathymetric-measuring sonar data produce estimates of bedform height that agree by 34.0% ± 27.2% for wave-orbital ripples and 16.6% ± 14.7% for megaripples. Errors for estimates of asymmetry are 1.9% ± 2.1% for wave-orbital ripples and 11.2% ± 9.6% for megaripples.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 35 (2018): 893-910, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-17-0102.1.
Suggested CitationJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 35 (2018): 893-910
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