Water-Column Variability Assessment for Underway Profilers to Improve Efficiency and Accuracy of Multibeam Surveys

TitleWater-Column Variability Assessment for Underway Profilers to Improve Efficiency and Accuracy of Multibeam Surveys
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year2013
AuthorsWilson, Matt, Beaudoin, Jonathan, and steve smyth
Conference NameUS Hydrographic Conference 2013
Conference DatesMarch 25-28
PublisherTHSOA
Conference LocationNew Orleans, LA, USA
Keywordssound speed uncertainty

With the advent of underway profilers, sampling the water-column to obtain sound speed corrections is no longer a detriment to hydrographic survey efficiency. Instead, the challenge has become deciding how many casts are necessary to maintain a desired level of multibeam sounding accuracy, while not needlessly overworking the profiler.

Ray tracing uncertainty analysis can determine in hindsight whether a particular sampling interval is adequate or not. Based on this methodology, an algorithm was developed to generate recommended sampling intervals based on successively acquired sound speed profiles, allowing the MVP to run in a “cruise-control” mode where the sampling interval is altered in response to changing oceanographic conditions.

In collaboration with Rolls Royce, the algorithm was implemented in Python and loosely couples with the MVP controller software such that the recommended sampling interval can be adjusted without operator intervention. Integration of the software with the MVP controller was successfully tested aboard the NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler in September of 2012. Initial results from field trials and from analysis of existing data sets are presented.

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