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A Cacophony of Sound

A Cacophony of Sound

January 16, 2019

Sound waves, like these generated by a whale’s calls, propagate far within the ocean. But in shallow waters, sound is confined into a narrower channel between the sea surface and seafloor. Sound waves bounce up and down between surface and bottom like sound waves bouncing off the sides of a very narrow canyon. As a result, the sound waves all interfere with one another, creating a cacophony of signals recorded by a hydrophone. WHOI acoustician Julien Bonnel in the WHOI Ocean Acoustics and Signal Lab is investigating a techniquie called warping, which gives scientists the ability to disentangle sound signals in the ocean. (Illustration by Natalie Renier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Creative Studio)

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