A study of the velocity structure in a marine boundary layer : instrumentation and observations
Tochko, John Steven
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KeywordRemote sensing; Oceanographic instruments; Boundary layer; Turbulence; Turbulent boundary layer; Ocean bottom
The design and operation of a unique flow measuring instrument for bottom boundary layer studies in the marine environment is documented. The effectiveness of the instrument in acquiring data with which models of near bottom flows in the ocean can be tested is demonstrated by the results of a field experiment in Vineyard Sound. The instrument uses four sensors which measure the mean and fluctuating parts of the three components of the velocity vector at four heights above the sea bed. The sensors employ the acoustic travel time difference technique, and are designed to minimize sensor-induced flow disturbances. BASS, an acronym for Benthic Acoustic Stress Sensor, has a resolution of .033 cm/sec per least bit, a range of ±62 cm/sec, noise of .07 cm/sec in 10 sec, and an estimated accuracy of ±.5 cm/sec, referred to an in situ zero point. A complete set of velocity measurements is made every .750 seconds, each measurement being the vector component averaged over 15 cm. The data is internally recorded on digital cassette tape. Eight hours of continuous data can be recorded. BASS was deployed in a tidal flow in Vineyard Sound at a depth of 10 m where a time series of u, v, and w velocities at 26 cm, 46 cm, 96 cm, and 210 cm above the bottom was recorded. The mean velocity was determined by fitting each 6 hour series with a sixth order polynomial and the deviations from the polynomial, the fluctuating velocity components, were correlated to produce Reynolds stress profiles. The stress series shows very few negative stress events while the dominant positive events have an average duration of 5 seconds and exceed 30 dynes/cm2. Zero offset was removed from the mean by assuming a log profile at maximum ebb. Deviations from a log profile developed when the current dropped below 40% of maximum, i.e., when the flow could no longer be considered steady. A break in the Reynolds stress profile at 1 m suggested a larger length scale than the 1 cm bottom roughness was present in the flow. A value of u* was determined by using the quadratic drag law (u* = 1.56 cm/sec), the log profile method (u* = 1.60 cm/sec), and the eddy correlation method (u* = 1.91 cm/sec). Integral length scales of 5 m cross-stream, and 2.5 m vertically were identified by correlation calculations. Two length scales were present in the downstream direction, 5 m within 1 meter of the wall and 8 m further from the wall.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution February 1978
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