Control of the repeatability of high frequency multibeam echosounder backscatter by using natural reference areas

Type Article
Date 2018-06
Language English
Author(s) Roche Marc1, Degrendele Koen1, Vrignaud Christophe2, Loyer Sophie2, Le Bas Tim3, Augustin Jean-Marie4, Lurton Xavier4
Affiliation(s) 1 : FPS Econ, Continental Shelf Serv, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium.
2 : SHOM, Brest, France.
3 : Natl Oceanog Ctr, Southampton, Hants, England.
4 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer Ifremer, Brest, France.
Source Marine Geophysical Research (0025-3235) (Springer), 2018-06 , Vol. 39 , N. 1-2 , P. 89-104
DOI 10.1007/s11001-018-9343-x
WOS© Times Cited 12
Keyword(s) Multibeam echosounder, Seafloor backscatter, Repeatability, Calibration, Reference area, Monitoring

The increased use of backscatter measurements in time series for environmental monitoring necessitates the comparability of individual results. With the current lack of pre-calibrated multibeam echosounder systems for absolute backscatter measurement, a pragmatic solution is the use of natural reference areas for ensuring regular assessment of the backscatter measurement repeatability. This method mainly relies on the assumption of a sufficiently stable reference area regarding its backscatter signature. The aptitude of a natural area to provide a stable and uniform backscatter response must be carefully considered and demonstrated by a sufficiently long time-series of measurements. Furthermore, this approach requires a strict control of the acquisition and processing parameters. If all these conditions are met, stability check and relative calibration of a system are possible by comparison with the averaged backscatter values for the area. Based on a common multibeam echosounder and sampling campaign completed by available bathymetric and backscatter time series, the suitability as a backscatter reference area of three different candidates was evaluated. Two among them, Carré Renard and Kwinte, prove to be excellent choices, while the third one, Western Solent, lacks sufficient data over time, but remains a valuable candidate. The case studies and the available backscatter data on these areas prove the applicability of this method. The expansion of the number of commonly used reference areas and the growth of the number of multibeam echosounder controlled thereon could greatly contribute to the further development of quantitative applications based on multibeam echosounder backscatter measurements.

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Roche Marc, Degrendele Koen, Vrignaud Christophe, Loyer Sophie, Le Bas Tim, Augustin Jean-Marie, Lurton Xavier (2018). Control of the repeatability of high frequency multibeam echosounder backscatter by using natural reference areas. Marine Geophysical Research, 39(1-2), 89-104. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :