Book Review

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Acoustical Ocean­ography

Academic Press, 1998, 712 pages
H. Medwin and C. S. Clay


S ince light travels only a few meters in the ocean, oceanographers use sound waves, ranging from a few hundred Hertz to upwards of 1 MHz to obtain images of ocean phenomena. This book, written by renowned experts in the field, discusses sound propagation, ray paths, attenuation, cavitation, waveguides, and scattering. Sonar does much more than simply bounce off submarines in grade B movies. Sound waves undergo bending, refraction, interference, absorption and scattering as they interact with fish, plankton, and the millions of bubbles in the ocean. Their absorption by magnesium sulfate and borate salts makes the acoustical properties of ocean water quite different from pure water.

Animals, of course, use sound as well. Dolphins, for example, emit clicks at 100 kHz and up to 226 dB, well above the level that would cause cavitation if the sound wave were continuous.

This book is intended to be used as a textbook for geophysicists, oceanographers, and acoustical engineers. Uses calculus and matrix algebra.

January 15, 2005 Back