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Voronovich A. G. and C. Penland (May 2011): Mapping of the ocean surface wind by ocean acoustic interferometers. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 129 (5), 2841-2850. doi:10.1121/1.3557044

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Measurements of marine surface winds are crucial to understanding mechanical and thermodynamic forces on the ocean. Satellite measurements of surface winds provide global coverage but are problematic at high wind speeds. Acoustic techniques of wind speed retrieval, and even for tracking hurricanes, have been suggested as an alternative since wind is a strong source of ambient noise in the ocean. Such approaches involve near-local measurements with bottom-mounted hydrophones located close to the area of interest. This paper suggests a complementary approach: measuring directivity of low-frequency ambient noise in the horizontal plane. These measurements would employ long vertical line arrays (VLAs) spanning a significant portion of the ocean waveguide. Two VLAs separated by a distance of some tens of kilometers and coherently measuring acoustic pressure form a single ocean interferometer. By sampling the area of interest from different perspectives with at least two interferometers, marine surface winds might be mapped over horizontal scales of the order of 1000 km with about 10 km resolution (more specifically, the 10 km resolution here means that contribution from the basis functions representing surface wind field with the scale of spatial variations of the order of 10 km can be resolved; independent retrieval of the wind within 104 cells of a corresponding grid is hardly possible). An averaging time required to overcome statistical variability in the noise field is estimated to be about 3 h. Numerical simulations of propagation conditions typical for the North Atlantic Ocean are presented.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1121/1.3557044