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Environmental and Acoustic Assessment: the AOB concept

N. Martins, C. Soares and S.M. Jesus 
SiPLAB - FCT, Universidade do Algarve,
Campus de Gambelas,
PT-8005-139 Faro, Portugal.

Comments: download pdf file.
Ref.: accepted in J. of Marine Systems, January 2007.

The requirement for rapid environmental assessment has motivated the development of prediction tools, which allow the observation and prediction in very short notice, of the ocean evolution in an interval up to 3–4 weeks, in given littoral areas. Complex systems exist nowadays, where multidimensional quantities like the oceanographicbiogeochemical- optical-acoustic fields, are tracked in time, melding measures and models of some or all the involved quantities. At some point in the prediction system, the acoustic forecast is computed by acoustic propagation models taking as input the environmental forecast. Inevitably, the error of the acoustic forecast as given by the model output, originates from at least two error sources. The first is the environmental forecast error. The second is due to the model inaccuracies, and to the dependence of propagation on parameters not dealt with by the prediction system, like geometric or geo-acoustic properties. The acoustic community has developed a large number of acoustic inversion systems –based on e.g. matched-field processors or travel-time tomography–, from which one can learn that an accurate acoustic simulation requires feeding the acoustic model with an environment which differs from the actual environment by a certain gap. This requires that the environmental forecast as given by ocean prediction systems be gap-compensated, prior to its inclusion in the acoustic environmental input. This paper puts the environmental gap in evidence, considering environmental forecasts, and historical and inverted data, to define heterogeneous environmental inputs to the propagation model. The corresponding acoustic outputs are compared to actual data from the MREA ’03 sea trial. It is observed that acoustic inversion can play a significant role in converting the environmental forecast into the acoustic forecast.

Acknowledgement: this work was supported under projects NUACE and  RADAR and scholarship no. SFRH/BD/9032/2002, from FCT (Portugal).