A buoyant tethered sphere for marine current estimation

Marchant, Ross, Stevens, Thomas, Choukroun, Severine, Combes, Gavin, Santarossa, Michael, Whinney, James, and Ridd, Peter (2014) A buoyant tethered sphere for marine current estimation. IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, 39 (1). pp. 2-9.

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Abstract

The high cost of acoustic Doppler ocean current meters means few are deployed in marine research studies. To address this problem, we have developed a low-cost robust current velocimeter based on the drag–tilt principle. The instrument tilts in response to current flow, for which the angle and direction of tilt are related to the water velocity. Static analytic approximation shows a sigmoid-type tilt response to increasing current speed. We detail a calibration method that models the relationship using a Gompertz curve. Calibration and field tests conducted near Magnetic Island, Australia, show a speed accuracy of 0.05 m/s for current speeds less than 0.6 m/s, and direction accuracy better than 15° for current speeds greater than 0.15 m/s. This instrument should be especially useful for research projects where numerous or spatially dense measurements of ocean currents are required.

Item ID: 30083
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1558-1691
Keywords: drag, low-cost instrumentation, measurement, ocean current
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2013 23:22
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961102 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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