Synopses & Reviews
This Topics volume is devoted to a study of sound propagation in the ocean. The effect of the interior of the ocean on underwater sound is analogous to the effect of a lens on light. The oceanic lens is related, as in light propagation, to the index of refraction of the medium. The latter is giv n by the ratio of the sound frequency to the speed of sound in water, typi ca lly about 1500 m s -1. It is the vari ation of the sound speed due to changing temperature, density, salinity, and pres sure in the complex ocean environment which creates the lens effect. Many oceanic processes such as currents, tides, eddies (circulating, translating regions of wa ter), and internal waves (the wave-like structure of the oceanic density variabil ity) contri bute in turn to the changes in sound speed'. The net effect of the ocean lens is to trap and guide sound waves in a channel created by the lens. The trapped sound can then propagate thousands of miles in this oceanic waveguide. In addition to the propagation in the interior of the ocean, sound can propagate into and back out of the ocean bottom as well as scatter from the ocean surface. Just as the sound produced by a loudspeaker in a room is affected by the walls of the room, so the ocean boundaries and the material properties below the ocean bottom are essential ingredients in the problem."