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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center > Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility (STIF) >Instrumentation

Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility (STIF)


Instrumentation

The Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility (STIF) maintains an extensive and diverse inventory of instruments for measuring oceanographic parameters in-situ over long periods of time (a few days to as long as one year) and platforms on which to deploy the instruments in estuarine, coastal, and deep ocean environments.  These instruments measure a wide variety of parameters relevant to studies of sediment transport and coastal circulation, for example current speed and direction, temperature, salinity, waves, pressure, and proxies for sediment concentration. 

Deployment Platforms

Surface buoys and subsurface moorings support instrumentation at the sea surface or in the water column in coastal or deep water.  Mooring components include surface buoys, subsurface flotation, and acoustic releases. The surface buoys mark the locations of subsurface instrumentation for mariners and fishermen, and may support oceanographic or meteorological sensors.  Instruments supported on sub-surface moorings measure parameters such as current velocity, temperature, conductivity, light transmission, and water quality parameters.  Some systems allow data to be returned to shore in real-time.

Bottom platforms rest on the sea floor and support instrumentation for near-bottom observations and for profiling of parameters in the bottom boundary layer.  Upward-looking current profilers (ADCP) are also often deployed on bottom platforms.  A variety of platform sizes and configurations provide flexibility for different instrument payloads and experiment requirements.  Sensors attached to these platforms measure parameters such as current velocity, pressure, temperature, conductivity, light transmission, acoustic backscatter, and water quality parameters.  Bottom-mounted sensors also obtain photographs or sonar images of the sea floor and pumped water samples for analysis of suspended matter. 

Instruments and sensors

A diverse inventory of instruments are maintained in the STIF (Table).  A description of tripods, moorings, and the instruments used through 2005 is available in the Data Collection section of USGS Open File Report 2007-1194 that documents all aspects of data acquisition, processing and distribution used on data collected by the STIF. Information on some newer sensors is available in the instruments section of USGS Open File Report 2012/1178.  Instruments record data internally and multi-purpose data loggers are customized to accommodate new sensors as the need arises.  New instruments are added to the inventory as technology provides new sensors, improved strategies for instrument sampling, and increased data storage capacity.


A flow tripod (taller, right) and sonar tripod (smaller, left) at the dock before being loaded onto a ship and taken to a site off Fire Island for deployment.

A flow tripod (taller, right) and sonar tripod (smaller, left) at the dock before being loaded onto a ship and taken to a site off Fire Island for deployment.

Minipod style tripod for near bottom current and wave measurements ready for deployment

Minipod style tripod for near bottom current and wave measurements ready for deployment.

Table 1.  Partial list of instruments at the Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility.

Instrument

Spatial Sampling

Parameters

Current, pressure, waves

Nortek Aquadopp

profile

current, waves

Sontek Pulse-Coherent Acoustic Doppler Profiler (PCADP)

profile

currents

TRDI Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP)

profile

current, waves, pressure

Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV)

point

current

Nortek Vector

point

current

Paroscientific Digiquartz Pressure sensor

point

pressure

SeaBird Seaguage

point

waves, pressure

Datawell MK-III waverider buoy

point

waves

Temperature, salinity, transmission, water quality

SeaBird Coastal FLNTU

point

chlorophyll, backscatter

Sea Bird Microcat 37SM 

point

temperature, salinity

Sea Bird Microcat 39

point

temperature, pressure

Sea Bird Seacat 16 and 16plus

point

temperature, salinity, pressure, plus additional sensors

Seapoint Turbidity

point

optical backscatter

Sea Tech transmissometer

point

light transmission

WetLabs C-Star transmissometer

point

light transmission

WetLabs ECO

point

PAR, chlorophyll-A, turbidity

YSI 6600 multi-purpose sondes

point

temperature, salinity, turbidity, nutrients and other parameters

YSI EXO water quality sondes

point

temperature, salinity, turbidity, nutrients and other parameters

Sediment

Aquatec Acoustic BackScatter Sensor (ABSS)

profile

acoustic backscatter at multiple frequencies

Sequoia Instruments LISST

point

sediment grain size distribution

Sequoia Instruments LISST HOLO

point

holographic images of particles

Seafloor imaging

Imagenex imaging sonar

2-D

time-series sidescan images of sea floor

Camera

2-D

time-series photos of the sea floor

Meteorological Observations

Downeast Instruments Buoy-mounted Meteorological station

point

 

Onset Hobo weather station

point

 

Listing of an instrument or sensor on this website does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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