Wind Sea behind a Cold Front and Deep Ocean Acoustics Academic Article uri icon


  • A rapid and broadband (1 h, 1 < f < 400 Hz) increase in pressure and vertical velocity on the deep ocean floor was observed on seven instruments comprising a 20-km array in the northeastern subtropical Pacific. The authors associate the jump with the passage of a cold front and focus on the 4- and 400-Hz spectra. At every station, the time of the jump is consistent with the front coming from the northwest. The apparent rate of progress, 10–20 km h?1 (2.8–5.6 m s?1), agrees with meteorological observations. The acoustic radiation below the front is modeled as arising from a moving half-plane of uncorrelated acoustic dipoles. The half-plane is preceded by a 10-km transition zone, over which the radiator strength increases linearly from zero. With this model, the time derivative of the jump at a station yields a second and independent estimate of the front’s speed, 8.5 km h?1 (2.4 m s?1). For the 4-Hz spectra, the source physics is taken to be Longuet-Higgins radiation. Its strength depends on the quantity , where F? is the wave amplitude power spectrum and I the overlap integral. Thus, the 1-h time constant observed in the bottom data implies a similar time constant for the growth of the wave field quantity behind the front. The spectra at 400 Hz have a similar time constant, but the jump occurs 25 min later. The implications of this difference for the source physics are uncertain.

publication date

  • June 2016