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Environmental Effects of the Beaufort Lens on Underwater Acoustic Communications during Arctic Operations

Daniel Goodwin, S.M., 2021
Henrik Schmidt, Advisor
Operations in the Arctic Ocean are increasingly important due to the changing environment
and the resulting global implications. These changes range from the availability of new global
trade routes, accessibility of newly available resources in the area, and national security
interests of the United States in the region. It’s necessary to build a greater understanding
of the undersea environment and how it’s changing since these environmental changes have
a direct impact on adjusting future operations in the region and looming global changes as
less Arctic ice is present. The recent presence of the Beaufort Lens is changing the acoustic
propagation paths throughout the Arctic region. Here a network of buoys were employed
to communicate with an Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (AUV) while it operated under the
ice throughout the Beaufort Lens with the goal of achieving near GPS quality navigation.
The acoustic communications paths were compared using a vertical array throughout the
Beaufort Lens. This beam forming was compared to the prediction from bellhop. As well,
since acoustic communications are affected by multi-path, attenuation and interference from
other sources it was interesting to note that bottom bounce was sometimes a reliable acoustic