The Beginnings of Operational Marine Weather Observations using Underwater Ambient Sound

Jeffrey A. Nystuen

Applied Physics Laboratory
Univeristy of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Michael J. McPhaden

Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration
Seattle, Washington

Abstract: It has been demonstrated that the underwater ambient sound field can be used to monitor precipitation, wind speed and ambient bubble populations in the oceanic environment. However, in order to provide climatologically useful data, and to establish scientific confidence in this technology, long term time series of acoustical data are needed. Acoustical Rain Gauges (ARGs) have been deployed on enhanced Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) moorings at 8°, 10° and 12° N, 95° W in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The first three ARGs have been recovered and provide data from December 1999 to April 2000. The ARGs provide data on rainfall detection and accumulation. In the absence of precipitation, acoustic measurements of wind speed are obtained. Relatively little rainfall has been detected in the data collected so far. However these data show promising agreement between the ARGs and co-located R.M. Young rain gauges mounted on the moorings.

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present showed SSM/I wind speed estimates higher than Geosat