Optimization of the spatial distribution of oceanographic sensors in a highly variable estuarine environment

P. Rogowski, R. Stolkin, M. Bruno

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Ocean observations are difficult and expensive to obtain. Optimal placement of oceanographic sensors can reduce the number of sensors used while improving observational accuracy. This paper presents a new technique for optimal placement of a set of oceanographic sensors in a highly variable environment. The study initially demonstrates how an objective analysis method, which incorporates an inverse distance weighting function, can be used to estimate salinity maps from a small number of sensors. Next, the effectiveness of a particular choice of sensor locations in terms of the expected errors is addressed. Subsequently it is shown how numerical, nonlinear optimization techniques can iteratively modify a set of sensor positions until the optimal choice of sensor placements is achieved by minimizing the expected error. The technique is first evaluated with a series of ground truth simulations using historical data. The paper concludes by presenting the results of a field trial, in which a small number of optimally placed sensor locations are used to develop accurate salinity maps for a complex region of the lower Hudson River with root mean square errors of approximately 1 psu or less for several comparison points.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marine Environmental Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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