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Development of a broadband acoustic sonar system for simultaneous measurements of the temporal and spatial distribution of bubbles and surface wave height in the context of acoustic communication in shallow coastal waters

Andone Lavery, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering
Jim Preisig, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering

Project summary

Understanding the complex spatial and temporal distribution of bubbles in coastal regions is an important factor for many diverse research areas, including the effectiveness of underwater acoustic communications.  Recent work has shown that the reliability of acoustic communications in shallow waters is highly sensitive to both bubbles generated by breaking surface waves as well as sea surface “roughness” over a range of scales, including long-period swell and short-period wind driven waves.  Acoustic backscattering techniques are ideal for remotely imaging the spatial and temporal distributions of bubbles as they can rapidly image relevant spatial scales at high resolution.  Emerging broadband techniques increase the range resolution through matched-filter signal processing techniques, result in a spectrum of scattering over a range of frequencies that can allow bubble resonances to be measured, and can simultaneously measure surface wave height with an upward looking system.

Capitalizing on new sonar boards developed at WHOI, we propose to develop and test an autonomous, low-power, low-cost, compact, versatile broadband acoustic scattering system for simultaneous measurement of the temporal and spatial distribution of bubbles and surface wave height in the context of acoustic communications in coastal regions.

Last updated: April 7, 2014