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Thermoclines (Oceanography), Modulation theory, Ocean waves, Noise


The performance of acoustic modems in the ocean is strongly affected by the oceanenvironment. A storm can drive up the ambient noise levels, eliminate a thermocline by wind mixing, and whip up violent waves and thereby break up the acoustic mirror formed by theocean surface. The combined effects of these and other processes on modem performance are not well understood. The authors have been conducting experiments to study these environmental effects on various modulation schemes. Here the focus is on the role of the thermocline on a widely used modulation scheme (frequency-shift keying). Using data from a recent experiment conducted in 100-m-deep water off the coast of Kauai, HI, frequency-shift-key modulation performance is shown to be strongly affected by diurnal cycles in the thermocline. There is dramatic variation in performance (measured by bit error rates) between receivers in the surface duct and receivers in the thermocline. To interpret the performance variations in a quantitative way, a precise metric is introduced based on a signal-to-interference-noise ratio that encompasses both the ambient noise and intersymbol interference. Further, it will be shown that differences in the fading statistics for receivers in and out of the thermocline explain the differences in modem performance.


This is the publisher's final PDF. Copyright 2007 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 121, 1895 and may be found at:



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