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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Backscatter stability and influence of water column conditions: estimation by multibeam echosounder and repeated oceanographic measurements, Belgian part of the North Sea

Marc Roche, Matthias Baeye, Jeroen De Bisschop, Koen Degrendele, Lies De Mol, Sonia Papili, Olga Lopera and Vera Van Lancker (2015)

Backscatter stability and influence of water column conditions: estimation by multibeam echosounder and repeated oceanographic measurements, Belgian part of the North Sea

In: Seabed and Sediment Acoustics: Measurements and Modelling, ed. by Blondel et al., vol. 37(1), pp. 74-84, University of Bath, Bath, Institute of Acoustics. Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics.

The European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive requires Member States to monitor and assess the health status of their marine habitats. Belgium put forward that the spatial extent and distribution of the major habitats (sandy mud to mud, muddy sands to sands and coarse-grained sediments), as well as that of gravel beds may only fluctuate within a margin that is limited to the accuracy of the current sediment distribution maps. Due to their ability to provide simultaneous bathymetry and backscatter strength (BS), reflecting seabed nature, multibeam echosounder systems (MBES) provide a time- and costefficient solution to anticipate on this legal obligation. However, as there is no formal quality level scale for the BS and consequently no level of reliability of the final decibel values, evaluating the BS quantitative capabilities to monitor habitat changes remains challenging. In a monitoring context, it is absolutely necessary to investigate to what extent the mean MBES-measured BS variation -from one cruise to another- actually represents a significant change in seabed properties and not only a change in the conditions of the water column (e.g., variation in near-bed suspensions, biological effects, increased occurrence of micro bubbles in the sea surface due to wind) at the time of the measurement. In order to evaluate the relative accuracy and the repeatability of MBES BS and to examine the external sources of variance in acoustic signatures, repeated measurements combining MBES with an Acoustic Doppler current Profiler (ADP) have been performed during tidal cycles on reference areas in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Currents and BS in the water column and vertical profiling of oceanographic parameters have been investigated allowing studying the influence of water column conditions on the BS. Measurements were conducted using two MBES systems to evaluate repeatability between echosounders. Ultimate goal is to arrive at seabed mapping and analyses protocols to obtain harmonized data products from a collaborative seabed mapping community.
Open Access, International Redaction Board, Abstract of an Oral Presentation or a Poster
habitat
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Natural Environment
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