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Turbulence near a sandbar island in the lower Missouri River

July 19, 2023

River turbulence is spatially variable due to interactions between morphology of rivers and physical mechanics of flowing water. Understanding the variation of turbulence in rivers is important for characterizing transport processes of soluble and particulate materials in these systems. We present an exploratory effort to understand ecologically relevant flow patterns using measurements of mean flow and turbulence in a highly engineered river channel around an island in the lower Missouri River. Specifically, the profiles of mean river velocities were investigated to examine the logarithmic relation and associated parameters, including shear velocity and bed roughness. Turbulence intensity and Reynolds shear stress were compared with classic open-channel profiles and previously reported river data in the hydraulics literature. With the capability of pulse-to-pulse coherent Doppler velocity profiling in high spatial resolution, we estimated the profiles of turbulence dissipation rate using resolved one-dimensional velocity spectra. These measurement data allow us to examine the validity of turbulence production-dissipation balance and the classic open-channel profiles of turbulence statistics, including turbulence intensity, Reynolds shear stress, dissipation rate, and eddy viscosity. The field data show a strong variation of turbulence profiles in close vicinity of the river island. In shallow water depths close to the island, turbulence is substantially enhanced in comparison with classic open-channel profiles. Such turbulence enhancement is likely attributed to non-uniformity of the flow structures.

Publication Year 2023
Title Turbulence near a sandbar island in the lower Missouri River
DOI 10.1002/rra.4180
Authors Geng Li, Caroline M. Elliott, Bruce Call, Brandon James Sansom, R. B. Jacobson, Binbin Wang
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title River Research and Applications
Index ID 70250978
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center