Four current meter models compared in strong currents in drake passag

D. Randolph Watts, Maureen A. Kennelly, Kathleen A. Donohue, Karen L. Tracey, Teresa K. Chereskin, Robert A. Weller, Ivan Victoria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Seven current meters representing four models on a stiffly buoyed mooring were placed for an 11-month deployment to intercompare their velocity measurements: two vector-measuring current meters (VMCMs), two Aanderaa recording current meter (RCM) 11s, two Aanderaa SEAGUARDs, and a Nortek Aquadopp. The current meters were placed 6-m apart from each other at about 4000-m depth in an area of Drake Passage expected to have strong currents, nearly independent of depth near the bottom. Two high-current events occurred in bursts of semidiurnal pulses lasting several days, one with peak speeds up to 67 cm s21 and the other above 35cm s21. The current-speed measurements all agreed within 7% of the median value when vector averaged over simultaneous time intervals. The VMCMs, chosen as the reference measurements, were found to measure the median of the mean-current magnitudes. The RCM11 andSEAGUARDcurrent speeds agreed within 2% of the median at higher speeds (35-67cm s21), whereas in lower speed ranges (0-35 cm s21) the vector-averaged speeds for the RCM11 and SEAGUARD were 4%-5% lower and 3%-5% higher than the median, respectively. The shorter-record Aquadopp current speeds were about 6% higher than the VMCMs over the range (0-40 cm s-1) encountered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2465-2477
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic measurements/effects
  • Currents
  • In situ oceanic observations
  • Instrumentation/sensors


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