The hydroacoustic method for the quantification of the gas flux from a submersed bubble plume
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This article presents an inverse hydroacoustic method for the remote quantification of the total gas flux transported from an underwater bubble plume. The method includes the surveying of the bubble plume by a vertically looking echo sounder and the calculation of the flux using the spatial distribution of the ultrasound backscattering at a fixed depth. A simplified parameterization containing only a few parameters is introduced to describe the empirical bubble size distribution. The linear correlation between the backscattering cross section of the bubble stream and the vertical gas flux is found. The calculation procedure takes into account the occurrence of a gas hydrate film at the bubble’s surface. The influence of different parameters on the accuracy of the method is investigated. The resolution volume of the echo sounder corresponding to the fixed distance is considered as a two-dimensional spatial window. The method was applied to quantify the total convective methane flux at the Haakon-Mosby mud volcano (HMMV) depth 1280 m. The calculated values of the total flux near the bottom (100–400 t/year) are in good agreement with the independently estimated flux for the single bubble jet observed from the ROV (70 t/year). These calculations also show significant temporal variability of the flux at the HMMV. The total flux was found to vary by about a factor of 2–3 within time scales of days.
KeywordsScatter Cross Section Methane Flux Bubble Size Distribution Directivity Diagram Bubble Plume
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