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The Transarctic Acoustic Propagation Experiment and climate monitoring in the Arctic

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3 Author(s)
Mikhalevsky, P.N. ; Ocean Sci. Oper., Sci. Applications Int. Corp., McLean, VA, USA ; Gavrilov, A.N. ; Baggeroer, A.B.

In April 1994, coherent acoustic transmissions were propagated across the entire Arctic basin for the first time. This experiment, known as the Transarctic Acoustic Propagation Experiment (TAP), was designed to determine the feasibility of using these signals to monitor changes in Arctic Ocean temperature and changes in sea ice thickness and concentration. CW and maximal length sequences (MLS) were transmitted from the source camp located north of the Svalbard Archipelago 1000 km to a vertical line array in the Lincoln Sea and 2600 km to a two-dimensional horizontal array and a vertical array in the Beaufort Sea. TAP demonstrated that the 19.6-Hz 195-dB (251-W) signals propagated with both sufficiently low loss and high phase stability to support the coherent pulse compression processing of the MLS and the phase detection of the CW signals. These yield time delay measurements an order of magnitude better than what is required to detect the estimated 80-ms/year changes in travel time caused by interannual and longer term changes in Arctic Ocean temperature. The TAP data provided propagation loss measurements to compare with the models to be used for correlating modal scattering losses with sea ice properties for ice monitoring. The travel times measured in TAP indicated a warming of the Atlantic layer in the Arctic of close to 0.4°C, which has been confirmed by direct measurement from icebreakers and submarines, demonstrating the utility of acoustic thermometry in the Arctic. The unique advantages of acoustic thermometry in the Arctic and the importance of climate monitoring in the Arctic are discussed. A four-year program, Arctic Climate Observations using Underwater Sound is underway to carry out the first installations of sources and receivers in the Arctic Ocean

Published in:

Oceanic Engineering, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 2 )