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Statistics of fluctuations in high-frequency low-grazing-angle backscatter from a rocky sea bed

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1 Author(s)
Trevorrow, M.V. ; Defence Res. & Dev. Canada-Atlantic, Dartmouth, NS, Canada

This paper examines the fluctuations in low-grazing-angle 100-kHz backscatter from a rocky limestone sea bed near Copenhagen, Denmark, at horizontal ranges up to 420 m. The sea-bed reverberation was characterized by strong short spatial-scale variations in scattering strength and statistical parameters. The measured areal backscatter strengths were in the range from -50 to -24 dB at grazing angles less than 3°, showing a strong local variability and grazing-angle dependence definitely not in accordance with Lambert's law. The observed echo-amplitude distributions varied between log-normal and Rayleigh models, with more Rayleigh-like probability density functions having higher scintillation indices and skewness (approaching values of 1.0 and 0.63, respectively). The scintillation index and skewness parameters were found to increase mildly with both horizontal range and water-current magnitude. A simple model using the coherent superposition of multiple scatterers was proposed to explain the observed scattering statistics. This model is based on the assumption that the sea bed is effectively immobile, with water-borne scintillation and micro-multipaths providing fluctuations in scatterer phase. This simple model shows that echo-amplitude fluctuations can deviate from the Rayleigh model through two mechanisms: 1) decreasing the levels of water-borne phase fluctuation and 2) increasing the nonuniformity of the sea-bed scatterer amplitudes.

Published in:

Oceanic Engineering, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 2 )