A comparison of measured and predicted broadband acoustic arrival patterns in travel time–depth coordinates at 1000?km range
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Broadband acoustic signals were transmitted from a moored 250-Hz source to a 3-km-long vertical line array of hydrophones 1000 km distant in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during July 1989. The sound-speed field along the great circle path connecting the source and receiver was measured directly by nearly 300 expendable bathythermograph (XBT), conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD), and air-launched expendable bathythermograph (AXBT) casts while the transmissions were in progress. This experiment is unique in combining a vertical receiving array that extends over much of the water column, extensive concurrent environmental measurements, and broadband signals designed to measure acoustic travel times with 1-ms precision. The time-mean travel times of the early raylike arrivals, which are evident as wave fronts sweeping across the receiving array, and the time-mean of the times at which the acoustic reception ends (the final cutoffs) for hydrophones near the sound channel axis, are consistent with ray predictions based on the direct measurements of temperature and salinity, within measurement uncertainty. The comparisons show that subinertial oceanic variability with horizontal wavelengths shorter than 50 km, which is not resolved by the direct measurements, significantly (25 ms peak-to-peak) affects the time-mean ray travel times. The final cutoffs occur significantly later than predicted using ray theory for hydrophones more than 100-200 m off the sound channel axis. Nongeometric effects, such as diffraction at caustics, partially account for this observation.