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Acoustical oceanography

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Title: Acoustical oceanography  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Underwater acoustics, Hydroacoustics, Leonid Brekhovskikh, Sofar bomb, Oceanography
Collection: Acoustics, Oceanography, Underwater Work
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Acoustical oceanography

Acoustical oceanography is the use of underwater sound to study the sea, its boundaries and its contents.

A 38 kHz hydroacoustic tow fin used to conduct acoustic surveys by NOAA. Alaska, Southeast.


  • History 1
  • Theory 2
  • Measurements 3
  • Applications 4
    • Depth sounding 4.1
    • Seabed classification 4.2
    • Marine biology 4.3
  • References 5


The earliest and most widespread use of sound and sonar technology to study the properties of the sea is the use of an rainbow echo sounder to measure water depth. The development of high resolution sonar in the second half of the 20th century made it possible to not just detect underwater objects but to classify them and even image them.

Important contributions to acoustical oceanography have been made by:


See Clay and Medwin[1]


See Clay and Medwin[1]


Applications of acoustical oceanography include:

Depth sounding

Seabed classification

Marine biology

The study of marine life, from microplankton to the blue whale, uses bioacoustics.[2]


  1. ^ a b C. S. Clay & H. Medwin, Fundamentals of Acoustical Oceanography (Academic, Boston, 1998).
  2. ^ E. J. Simmonds & D. N. MacLennan, Fisheries Acoustics, Second Edition (Blackwell, Oxford, 2005).

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