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High-frequency acoustic volume backscattering in the Georges Bank coastal region and its interpretation using scattering models

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5 Author(s)
Wiebe, P.H. ; Woods Hole Oceanogr. Instn., MA, USA ; Stanton, T.K. ; Benfield, M.C. ; Mountain, D.G.
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High-frequency (120 and 420 kHz) sound was used to survey sound scatterers in the water over Georges Bank. In addition to the biological sound scatterers (the plankton and micronekton), scattering associated with internal waves and suspended sediment was observed. Volume backscattering was more homogeneous in the vertical dimension (with occasional patches) in the shallow central portion of the Bank where there is significant mixing. In the deeper outer portion of the Bank where the water is stratified, volume backscattering was layered and internal waves modulated the vertical position of the layers in the pycnocline. The internal waves typically had amplitudes of 5-20 m, but sometimes much higher. Species composition and size data from samples of the animals and suspended sediment used in conjunction with acoustic scattering models revealed that throughout the region the animals generally dominate the scattering, but there are times and places where sand particles (suspended as high as up to the sea surface) can dominate. The source of the scattering in the internal waves is probably due to a combination of both animals and sound-speed microstructure. Determination of their relative contributions requires further study

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Oceanic Engineering, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 3 )