Belfast Lough

High Resolution Tidal Current Data Collected for First Time in Belfast Lough

Dr. Adam Mellor (AFBI) assisting with retrieval of ADCP aboard the Banrion Uladh,

The ADCP mounted on a steel frame with acoustic release (netting to prevent sinkage into soft sediments)

Seabed-mounted “Aquadopp” Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) were deployed at two locations within Belfast Harbour (Inner Belfast Lough) to gather high resolution tidal current data over this busy sea area. Tidal current data is lacking in Belfast Lough but is critical for adequate calibration, or “fine-tuning”, of a high resolution 3D hydrodynamic model of Belfast Lough, which is a key deliverable of the SPRES project. The ADCPs were left in situ for a period of one month (February to March 2013) to capture both spring and neap tidal current data, and gave a successful 100% data return. In addition, through a data sharing agreement, the SPRES project has also accessed another ADCP dataset from the Outer Belfast Lough (Copeland Islands, through Queen’s University Belfast). The Belfast Harbour survey was undertaken as a joint effort between AFBI, local company “Applied Renewables Research (ARR Ltd.)” and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), who generously made their Fisheries Protection Vessel Banrion Uladh available for the instrument deployment and recovery. Finally, through another data sharing agreement with the Environmental Consultancy firm “RPS”, the SPRES project has been allowed access to high resolution bathymetric data for the docks area of Belfast Harbour, in exchange for access by RPS to the new ADCP dataset to help their own modelling efforts for Harbour development. Such data have been very important in developing the hydrodynamic model in this part of the lough, which is a critical area for potential oil spills.

View of Belfast Docks site of ADCP deployment]