Acoustic normal mode fluctuation statistics in the 1995 SWARM internal wave scattering experiment Academic Article uri icon


  • In order to understand the fluctuations imposed upon low frequency (50 to 500 Hz) acoustic signals due to coastal internal waves, a large multilaboratory, multidisciplinary experiment was performed in the Mid-Atlantic Bight in the summer of 1995. This experiment featured the most complete set of environmental measurements (especially physical oceanography and geology) made to date in support of a coastal acoustics study. This support enabled the correlation of acoustic fluctuations to clearly observed ocean processes, especially those associated with the internal wave field. More specifically, a 16 element WHOI vertical line array (WVLA) was moored in 70 m of water off the New Jersey coast. Tomography sources of 224 Hz and 400 Hz were moored 32 km directly shoreward of this array, such that an acoustic path was constructed that was anti-parallel to the primary, onshore propagation direction for shelf generated internal wave solitons. These nonlinear internal waves, produced in packets as the tide shifts from ebb to flood, produce strong semidiurnal effects on the acoustic signals at our measurement location. Specifically, the internal waves in the acoustic waveguide cause significant coupling of energy between the propagating acoustic modes, resulting in broadband fluctuations in modal intensity, travel-time, and temporal coherence. The strong correlations between the environmental parameters and the internal wave field include an interesting sensitivity of the spread of an acoustic pulse to solitons near the receiver.

publication date

  • January 2000