Comparison of basin-scale acoustic transmissions with rays and further evidence for a structured thermal field in the northeast pacific

David E. Norris, John L. Spiesberger, Daniel Ward Merdes

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From May to September of 1987, 250-Hz, 16-ms resolution acoustic signals were transmitted between four sources and nine receivers in the northeast Pacific. This paper examines the acoustic transmissions across nine of the sections within this group, with path lengths ranging from approximately 1700 to 3300 km. Acoustic multipaths are tracked in the data, and ray theory is successfully used to identify the multipaths, where the spring and summer Levitus' climatological databases are used to determine the sound speeds. The observed multipaths arrive on the order of 1 s later than the predicted rays. Travel time differences greater than 0.15 s are due to temperature errors in Levitus' climatology within the ocean's upper 1 km. The resulting corrections to Levitus' spring and summer oceans are -0.2 and -0.3 °C, respectively. The upper turning depths for all rays are found to vary by less than 50 m from spring to summer. Variations in the measured travel times Over the four month period are about 0.5 s. Some sections warm between the spring and summer seasons, while other sections cool. This variability is inconsistent with a temperature field dominated by seasonal effects. The spatial and temporal scales of the heat content are qualitatively similar to those found from other basin-scale acoustic sections in the northeast Pacific [J. L. Spiesberger et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 92, 384-396 (1992)].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-194
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 31 1998


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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