Noncontact methods for measuring water-surface elevations and velocities in rivers: Implications for depth and discharge extraction

J. M. Nelson, P. J. Kinzel, R. R. McDonald, M. W. Schmeeckle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently developed optical and videographic methods for measuring water-surface properties in a noninvasive manner hold great promise for extracting river hydraulic and bathymetric information. This paper describes such a technique, concentrating on the method of infrared videography for measuring surface velocities and both acoustic (laboratory-based) and laser-scanning (fieldbased) techniques for measuring water-surface elevations. In ideal laboratory situations with simple flows, appropriate spatial and temporal averaging results in accurate water-surface elevations and water-surface velocities. In test cases, this accuracy is sufficient to allow direct inversion of the governing equations of motion to produce estimates of depth and discharge. Unlike other optical techniques for determining local depth that rely on transmissivity of the water column (bathymetric lidar, multi/hyperspectral correlation), this method uses only water-surface information, so even deep and/or turbid flows can be investigated. However, significant errors arise in areas of nonhydrostatic spatial accelerations, such as those associated with flow over bedforms or other relatively steep obstacles. Using laboratory measurements for test cases, the cause of these errors is examined and both a simple semi-empirical method and computational results are presented that can potentially reduce bathymetric inversion errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRiver Flow - Proceedings of the International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, RIVER FLOW 2016
EditorsGeorge Constantinescu, Marcelo Garcia, Dan Hanes
PublisherCRC Press/Balkema
Pages637-645
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781138029132
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, RIVER FLOW 2016 - St. Louis, United States
Duration: Jul 11 2016Jul 14 2016

Publication series

NameRiver Flow - Proceedings of the International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, RIVER FLOW 2016

Other

OtherInternational Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, RIVER FLOW 2016
CountryUnited States
CitySt. Louis
Period7/11/167/14/16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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  • Cite this

    Nelson, J. M., Kinzel, P. J., McDonald, R. R., & Schmeeckle, M. W. (2016). Noncontact methods for measuring water-surface elevations and velocities in rivers: Implications for depth and discharge extraction. In G. Constantinescu, M. Garcia, & D. Hanes (Eds.), River Flow - Proceedings of the International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, RIVER FLOW 2016 (pp. 637-645). (River Flow - Proceedings of the International Conference on Fluvial Hydraulics, RIVER FLOW 2016). CRC Press/Balkema. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781315644479-101