CASPO Seminar: Antipodal Acoustic Thermometry: 1960, 2004

12/18/2013 - 3:30pm

Seminars are given in Nierenberg 101 and begin at 3:30 pm.

Speaker: Brian Dushaw (Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington) 

Title: Antipodal Acoustic Thermometry: 1960, 2004


On 21 March 1960, sounds from three 300-lb depth charges deployed at 5.5-min. intervals off Perth, Australia were recorded by the SOFAR station at Bermuda. The recorded travel time of these signals, about 13,375 s, is a historical measure of the ocean temperature averaged across several ocean basins. The 1960 travel time measurement has about 3-s precision. High-resolution global ocean state estimates for 2004 from the "Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II" (ECCO2) project were combined with ray tracing to determine the paths followed by the acoustic signals. The acoustic paths are refracted geodesics that are slightly deflected by either small-scale topographic features in the Southern Ocean or the coast of Brazil. The refractive influences of intense, small-scale oceanographic features, such as Agulhas Rings or eddies in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, greatly reduce the necessary topographic deflection and cause the acoustic paths to meander in time. The ECCO2 ocean state estimates, which are constrained by model dynamics and available data, were used to compute present-day travel times. Measured and computed arrival coda were in good agreement. Based on recent estimates of warming of the upper ocean, the travel-time change over the past half-century was nominally expected to be about minus 10 s, but little difference between measured (1960) and computed (2004) travel times was found. Taking into account uncertainties in the 1960 measurements and in the 2004 ocean state estimates, the ocean temperature averaged along the sound channel axis over the antipodal paths has warmed at a rate less than 4.3 millidegrees C/yr (95% confidence).


For more information on this event, contact: 
Caitlin Whalen
Event Calendar: 
101 Nierenberg Hall