Passive Acoustical Oceanography

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The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

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Acoustical Oceanography includes the use of both active and passive acoustic systems to measure various properties of the ocean environment. Active methods use a specifically designed and controlled sound projector while passive methods exploit naturally occurring ocean sounds such as breaking waves, ship noise, or marine mammal vocalizations. Historically, active methods have been the preferred choice when precise propagation times or calibrated sound levels are important. However, passive sensing has a strong appeal due in part to the ease in which listening-only systems can be deployed. There have been a number of advances in passive sensing even for cases where propagation times and sound levels are of interest. For example, it has been shown that surface wave noise can be used to measure vertical propagation times through the seabed and water column. More recently, there is experimental evidence that indicates noise correlations may also be used to determine horizontal propagation times in the seabed. Although replacing controlled projectors with noise sources is an attractive option there are limitations to how and when noise can be used this way. These limitations as well as experimental and modeling results from surface and ship noise will be described in this presentation.

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