Understanding and Utilizing Waveguide Invariant Range-Frequency Striations in Ocean Acoustic Waveguides

Kevin Cockrell, Ph.D., 2011
Henrik Schmidt, Advisor

Much of the recent research in ocean acoustics has focused on developing methods to exploit the effects that the sea surface and seafloor have on acoustic propagation. Many of those methods require detailed knowledge of the acoustic properties of the seafloor and the sound speed profile (SSP), which limits their applicability. The range-frequency waveguide invariant describes striations that often appear in plots of acoustic intensity versus range and frequency. These range-frequency striations have properties that depend strongly on the frequency of the acoustic source and on distance between the acoustic source and receiver, but that depend mildly on the SSP and seafloor properties. Because of this dependence, the waveguide invariant can be utilized for applications such as passive and active sonar, time-reversal mirrors, and array processing, even when the SSP or the seafloor properties are not well known. This thesis develops a framework for understanding and calculating the waveguide invariant, and uses that framework to develop signal processing techniques for the waveguide invariant.

A method for passively estimating the range from an acoustic source to a receiver is developed, and tested on experimental data. Heuristics are developed to estimate the minimum source bandwidth and minimum horizontal aperture required for range estimation.

A semi-analytic formula for the waveguide invariant is derived using WKB approximation along with a normal mode description of the acoustic field in a rangeindependent waveguide. This formula is applicable to waveguides with arbitrary SSPs, and reveals precisely how the SSP and the seafloor reflection coefficient affect the value of the waveguide invariant.

Previous research has shown that the waveguide invariant range-frequency striations can be observed using a single hydrophone or a horizontal line array (HLA) of hydrophones. This thesis shows that traditional array processing techniques are sometimes inadequate for the purpose of observing range-frequency striations using frequency striations are developed and demonstrated.

Finally, a relationship between the waveguide invariant and wavenumber integrations is derived, which may be useful for studying range-frequency striations in elastic environments such as ice-covered waveguides.