High-Frequency Seafloor Scattering in a Dynamic Harbor Environment: Observations of Change Over Time Scales of Seconds to Seasons

TitleHigh-Frequency Seafloor Scattering in a Dynamic Harbor Environment: Observations of Change Over Time Scales of Seconds to Seasons
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year2016
AuthorsWeber, TC, Ward, LG
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume140(4)
Pages3348-3349
Date PublishedNovember 18
PublisherAcoustical Society of America

Predicting sonar performance in a harbor environment can be made challenging by the dynamics of the upper and lower surface boundaries. In this talk we examine measurements of the seabed in Portsmouth Harbor, NH. Tidally influenced currents in the Piscataqua River make Portsmouth Harbor one of the most challenging commercial ports to navigate in the northeastern United States. The level of interaction between these currents and the harbor floor is a function of the substrate type. Stereo-camera observations in a sand-wave field near the harbor entrance show fluctuations in microscale roughness and optical reflectance at time scales of seconds during periods of high current. Despite the observed microscale dynamics in the sand-wave field, acoustic observations of both high-frequency seabed scattering strength and mesoscale topography in the same area appear stationary over time scales up to seasons. The low-level of observed fluctuations in scattering strength from the sand-wave field are commensurate with the gravel (and presumably less mobile) river thalweg. Nearby bedrock and sand seafloors show similarly low fluctuations over large time scales, despite seasonal variations in benthic fauna.

DOI10.1121/1.4970700
Refereed DesignationRefereed
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