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Water Resources Investigations 01-4157

Feasibility of Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meters for the Production of Discharge Records from U.S. Geological Survey Streamflow-Gaging Stations

By Scott E. Morlock, Hieu T. Nguyen, and Jerry H. Ross

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It is feasible to use acoustic Doppler velocity meters (ADVM’s) installed at U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow-gaging stations to compute records of river discharge. ADVM’s are small acoustic current meters that use the Doppler principle to measure water velocities in a two-dimensional plane. Records of river discharge can be computed from stage and ADVM velocity data using the “index velocity” method. The ADVM-measured velocities are used as an estimator or "index" of the mean velocity in the channel.

In evaluations of ADVM’s for the computation of records of river discharge, the USGS installed ADVM’s at three streamflow-gaging stations in Indiana: Kankakee River at Davis, Fall Creek at Millersville, and Iroquois River near Foresman. The ADVM evaluation study period was from June 1999 to February 2001. Discharge records were computed, using ADVM data from each station. Discharge records also were computed using conventional stage-discharge methods of the USGS. The records produced from ADVM and conventional methods were compared with discharge record hydrographs and statistics. Overall, the records compared closely from the Kankakee River and Fall Creek stations. For the Iroquois River station, variable backwater was present and affected the comparison; because the ADVM record compensates for backwater, the ADVM record may be superior to the conventional record. For the three stations, the ADVM records were judged to be of a quality acceptable to USGS standards for publications and near real-time ADVM-computed discharges are served on USGS real-time data World Wide Web pages.

For additional information contact:
District Chief,
U.S. Geological Survey
5957 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46278

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Suggested citation:
Morlock, S.E., Nguyen, H.T., and Ross, J.H., 2001, Feasibility of acoustic doppler velocity meters for the production of discharge records from U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging stations: U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 01-4157.

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