ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4pAO5. Direct measurements of the sound speed in the oceanic surface bubbly layer.

Eric Lamarre

R. M. Parsons Lab., MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139

W. Kendall Melville

Scripps Inst. of Oceanogr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0213

It is well known that wave breaking events create a bubbly layer a few meters thick below the water surface. The most important characteristic of this shallow channel is its sound-speed profile. Results are presented from two recent field experiments in which the sound-speed profile was directly measured in the first few meters below the surface for frequencies in the range 5--40 kHz. Preliminary results in moderate sea states (wind speeds less than 10 m/s) indicate that significant departures from the sound speed in bubble-free water occur in a shallow [O(1 m)] layer and are intermittent in time. Two dominant time scales are present. A fast time scale associated with the surface waves, which advect the bubble clouds horizontally with respect to the buoy; and a slow time scale O(100 s). Sound-speed reductions up to 150 m/s have been observed at 50-cm depth with 10-min means well above the 5 to 15 m/s previously cited in the literature. Other results including ambient sound, acoustic attenuation, and upward looking sonar measurements of the bubble clouds will be discussed. [Work supported by ONR.]