Porter Michael B.

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Michael B.

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  • Article
    Underwater sound propagation modeling in a complex shallow water environment
    (Frontiers Media, 2021-10-15) Oliveira, Tiago C. A. ; Lin, Ying-Tsong ; Porter, Michael B.
    Three-dimensional (3D) effects can profoundly influence underwater sound propagation in shallow-water environments, hence, affecting the underwater soundscape. Various geological features and coastal oceanographic processes can cause horizontal reflection, refraction, and diffraction of underwater sound. In this work, the ability of a parabolic equation (PE) model to simulate sound propagation in the extremely complicated shallow water environment of Long Island Sound (United States east coast) is investigated. First, the 2D and 3D versions of the PE model are compared with state-of-the-art normal mode and beam tracing models for two idealized cases representing the local environment in the Sound: (i) a 2D 50-m flat bottom and (ii) a 3D shallow water wedge. After that, the PE model is utilized to model sound propagation in three realistic local scenarios in the Sound. Frequencies of 500 and 1500 Hz are considered in all the simulations. In general, transmission loss (TL) results provided by the PE, normal mode and beam tracing models tend to agree with each other. Differences found emerge with (1) increasing the bathymetry complexity, (2) expanding the propagation range, and (3) approaching the limits of model applicability. The TL results from 3D PE simulations indicate that sound propagating along sand bars can experience significant 3D effects. Indeed, for the complex shallow bathymetry found in some areas of Long Island Sound, it is challenging for the models to track the interference effects in the sound pattern. Results emphasize that when choosing an underwater sound propagation model for practical applications in a complex shallow-water environment, a compromise will be made between the numerical model accuracy, computational time, and validity.