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Journal of Theoretical and Computational Acoustics

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Ocean sounds, Acoustics (Physical sciences)


This paper reviews some of the highlights of selected topics in ocean acoustics during the thirty years that have passed since the founding of the Journal of Theoretical and Computational Acoustics. Advances in computational methods and computers helped to make computational ocean acoustics a vibrant area of research during that period. The parabolic equation method provides an unrivaled combination of accuracy and efficiency for propagation problems in which the bathymetry, sound speed, and other environmental parameters vary in the horizontal directions. The extension of this approach to cases involving layers that support shear waves has been an active area of research throughout the thirty year period. Interest in basin-scale and global-scale propagation was stimulated by the Heard Island Feasibility Test for monitoring climate change in terms of changes in travel time that occur as the temperature of the ocean rises. Diminishing ice cover in the Arctic, which is one of the consequences of climate change, has stimulated renewed interest in Arctic acoustics during the past decade. Reverberation is a challenging problem that was the topic of a major research program during the beginning of the thirty year period. An innovative approach for making it feasible to solve such problems was applied to data for reverberation from the seafloor and from schools of fish, and some of the findings were featured in Science and Nature. Source localization is one of the core problems in ocean acoustics. When applied on a 2-D array of receivers, an approach based on the eigenvectors of the covariance matrix is capable of separating the signals from different sources from each other, determining when this partitioning step is successful, and tracking sources that cross each other in bearing; one of the advantages of this approach is that it does not require environmental information or solutions of the wave equation. Geoacoustic inversion for estimating the layer structure, wave speeds, density, and other parameters of ocean bottoms has also been a topic of interest throughout the thirty year period.


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