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ADCPs on Surface Buoys: A Brief Look at Legacy Systems and Moving Forward

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The discussion constantly comes up when planning an observing project, whether one system or multiple systems in an array: “Full water column current velocity and direction included in with all data streams is required,” usually surface meteorology, density, and perhaps wave measurements are needed as well (a complete MetOcean sensor suite). Measuring currents means using acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP) in today's ocean observing world. Bottom-mounted systems are now standard and straightforward and the best approach for the cleanest data sets. Surface-mounted ADCPs, on moving buoys, take some thought. Hardware is relatively easy; data processing is not so easy, at least not at first, until all that is involved below the waterline of the buoy is understood. The main reason for placing the buoy in the water in the first place is to collect “good,” high-quality data. Here we look at some early applications where ADCPs (RD Instruments/Teledyne RD Instruments) were mounted on surface buoys and discuss some results and ideas on options moving forward.
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Keywords: ADCP; ocean observing; surface buoys

Document Type: Technical Note

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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