Measurements at Sea


Since 2004 the OD Nature has regularly taken measurements on the bed of the Belgian Continental Shelf, using a tripod measuring frame. This frame is fitted with a series of oceanographic sensors:

-current velocimeters such as an Acoustic Doppler Profiler (ADP) and an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV),

  • -a CT-sensor which records temperature and salinity,
  • -optical (Optical Backscatter Sensors - OBS) and acoustic backscatter sensors (ADP, ADV and AquaScat) which measure the ┬áconcentration of suspended sediment,
  • -an LISST 100x and an AquaScat which measure the size of particles in suspension,
  • -an instrument for passive acoustic monitoring of cetaceans (C-PoD)
  • -an instrument for passive sampling for chemical monitoring.

The frame (which weighs around 850 kg with instruments attached!) is placed on the sea bed with assistance from the RV Belgica. After around three weeks it is brought back to the surface in order to process the data and reset the instruments.

Since their initial deployment these instruments have recorded data for more than 2000 days. In the autumn of 2009 a permanent coastal observatory was installed at MOW1, a measuring pole which is located to the west of the entrance to the port of Zeebrugge. Other locations sampled using the tripod-measurement frame include offshore sites such as Kwintebank, Gootebank, MOW0 and wind farms, and a location very close to the Blankenberge coast.

The measurements taken with these instruments are used for scientific research and to validate scientific models relating to sediment transport and hydrodynamic models.

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