Measuring vertical velocities with ADCPs in low-energy ocean

Vertical velocities knowledge is essential to study fine-scale dynamics in the surface layers of the ocean and to understand their impact on biological production mechanisms. However, these vertical velocities have long been neglected, simply parameterized, or considered as not measurable, due mainly to their order of magnitude (< mm s−1 up to cm s−1), generally much lower than the one of the horizontal velocities (cm s−1 to dm s−1), hence the challenge of their in situ measurement. In this paper, we present an upgraded method for direct in situ measurement of vertical velocities using data from different Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) associated with CTD probes, and we perform a comparative analysis of the results obtained by this method. The analyzed data were collected during the FUMSECK cruise, from three ADCPs: two Workhorse (conventional ADCPs), one lowered on a carousel and the other deployed in free-fall mode, and one Sentinel V (a new generation ADCP with four classical beams and a fifth vertical beam), also lowered on a carousel. Our analyses provide profiles of vertical velocities on the order of mm s−1, as expected, with standard deviations of a few mm s−1. While the fifth beam of the Sentinel V exhibits a better accuracy than conventional ADCPs, the free-fall technique provides a more accurate measurement compared to the carousel technique. Finally, this innovative study opens up the possibility to perform simple and direct in situ measurements of vertical velocities, coupling the free-fall technique with a five-beam ADCP.


Ocean, Ageostrophic circulations, Vertical motion, Surface layer, In situ oceanic observations

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Comby Caroline, Barrillon Stéphanie, Fuda Jean-Luc, Doglioli Andrea M., Tzortzis Roxane, Grégori Gérald, Thyssen Melilotus, Petrenko Anne A. (2022). Measuring vertical velocities with ADCPs in low-energy ocean. Journal Of Atmospheric And Oceanic Technology. 39 (11). 1669-1684.,

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