Acoustic Ducting, Reflection, Refraction, and Dispersion by Curved Nonlinear Internal Waves in Shallow Water Academic Article uri icon


  • Nonlinear internal waves in shallow water have been shown to be effective ducts of acoustic energy, through theory, numerical modeling, and experiment. To date, most work on such ducting has concentrated on rectilinear internal wave ducts or those with very slight curvature. In this paper, we examine the acoustic effects of significant curvature of these internal waves. (By significant curvature, we mean lateral deviation of the internal wave duct by more than half the spacing between internal waves over an acoustic path, giving a transition from ducting to antiducting.) We develop basic analytical models of these effects, employ fully 3-D numerical models of sound propagation and scattering, and examine simultaneous acoustical and oceanographic data from the 2006 Shallow Water Experiment (SW06). It will be seen that the effects of curvature should be evident in the mode amplitudes and arrival angles, and that observations are consistent with curvature, though with some possible ambiguity with other scattering mechanisms.

publication date

  • January 2010