Underwater acoustic energy fluctuations during strong internal wave activity using a three-dimensional parabolic equation model

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The three-dimensional Monterey-Miami parabolic equation model is used to simulate a nonlinear internal wave (NIW) crossing the sound field in a shallow water environment. The impetus for this research stems from acoustic measurements taken during the Shallow Water '06 (SW06) field experiment, where a NIW traversed the water column such that soliton wavecrests were nearly parallel to the source-receiver path. Horizontal refraction effects are important in this scenario. A sound speed profile adapted from experimental SW06 data is used to simulate the NIW, assuming variations along the wavecrests (e.g., curvature) are negligible. Broadband and modal energy metrics show acoustic fluctuations due to internal wave activity. Repeated model runs simulate the NIW crossing the parabolic equation (PE) field over space and time. Statistical analysis shows the PE data are best fit by a lognormal distribution but tends to an exponential distribution during certain scenarios. Small angle differences between the acoustic track and the propagating NIW cause substantial differences in energy distribution throughout the PE field. While refraction effects due to the leading edge of the NIW's arrival are important in all cases, the impacts of focusing and defocusing in the perfectly parallel case dominate the field fluctuations. In the non-parallel case, the strong fluctuations introduced by the passage of the NIW are of similar order to the refraction off the leading edge.

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Journal of the Acoustical Society of America