An integrated modal approach to surface and volume scattering in ocean acoustic waveguides
Tracey, Brian H.
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Acoustic propagation in the ocean can be strongly affected by small random variations in ocean properties, including rough surfaces and volume fluctuations in the ocean or seabed. Such inhomogeneities scatter part of the incident acoustic field, stripping energy from the coherent part of the field. This scattered energy, or reverberation, propagates further in the modes of the ocean waveguide. The distribution of energy among modes is changed and the coherence of the acoustic field is reduced. This thesis introduces several models which describe scattering of low-frequency sound. First, the rough surface scattering theory of Kuperman and Schmidt is reformulated in terms of normal modes. Scattering from rough fluid-fluid interfaces and rough elastic halfspaces is modeled, and statistics of the acoustic field are calculated. Numerical results show the modal formulation agrees well with Kuperman and Schmidt's model, while reducing computation times by several orders of magnitude for the scenarios considered. Next, a perturbation theory describing scattering from sound speed and density fluctuations in acoustic media is developed. The theory is used to find the scattered field generated by volume fluctuations in sediment bottoms. Modal attenuations due to sediment volume scattering are calculated, and agreement is demonstrated with previous work. The surface and volume scattering theories are implemented in a unified modal reverberation code and used to study bottom scattering in shallow water. Numerical examples are used to demonstrate the relationship between volume and surface scattering. Energy distribution among scattered field modes is found to be a complicated function of the scattering mechanism, the scatterer statistics, and the acoustic environment. In particular, the bottom properties strongly influence the coherence of the acoustic field. Examples show that excitation of fluid-elastic interface waves is a potentially important scattering path. Cross-modal coherences are calculated and used to study the loss of signal coherence with range. Finally, earlier work on scattering from the Arctic ice sheet is extended. Simulations of long-range transmissions are compared with data from the April 1994 trans-Arctic propagation test. The results show modal attenuations and group speeds can be predicted reasonably well, indicating that acoustic monitoring of Arctic climate is feasible.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution January 1996
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