Ocean acoustic tomography at 1000-km range using wavefronts measured with a large-aperture vertical array Academic Article uri icon


  • Broadband acoustic signals transmitted from a moored 250-Hz source to a 3-km-long vertical line array of hydrophones 1000 km distant in the north central Pacific Ocean were used to determine the amount of information available from tomographic techniques used in the vertical plane connecting a source-receiver pair. A range-independent, pure acoustic inverse to obtain the sound speed field using travel time data from the array is shown to be possible by iterating from climatological data without using any information from concurrent environmental measurements. Range-dependent inversions indicate resolution of components of oceanic variability with horizontal wavelengths shorter than 50 km, although the limited spatial resolution of concurrent direct measurements does not provide a strong cross-validation, since the typical cast spacing of 20-25 km gives a Nyquist wavelength of 40-50 km. The small travel time signals associated with high-wavenumber ocean variability place stringent but achievable requirements on travel time measurement precision. The forward problem for the high-wavenumber components of the model is found to be subject to relatively large linearization errors, however, unless the sound speed field at wavelengths greater than about 50 km is known from other measurements or from a two-dimensional tomographic array. The high-ocean-wavenumber resolution that is in principle available from tomographic measurements is therefore achievable only under restricted conditions.

publication date

  • September 15, 1993