Modal Mapping Experiment and Geoacoustic Inversion Using Sonobuoys

George V. Frisk, Kyle M. Becker, Subramaniam D. Rajan, Cynthia J. Sellers, Keith Von Der Heydt, Chad M. Smith, Megan S. Ballard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This paper summarizes the results of an experiment whose primary goal was to demonstrate that reliable geoacoustic inversion results can be obtained in shallow water by postprocessing acoustic data acquired by Global Positioning System (GPS)-capable sonobuoys. The experiment was conducted aboard the R/V Sharp on March 5-18, 2011 off the coast of New Jersey using AN/SSQ-53F sonobuoys with a GPS capability as well as GPS-equipped research buoys originally developed under the Modal Mapping Experiment (MOMAX) project, which provided reliable geoacoustic information to which the sonobuoy results could be compared. It is shown that when low-frequency (<500 Hz) continuous-wave (CW) signals are acquired on the two types of buoys in a colocated configuration, the geoacoustic models inferred from the sonobuoy data are very similar to those obtained from the MOMAX buoy data. The inversion results also compare favorably with bottom models for the region obtained from other experiments. This work is an important milestone toward achieving the ultimate goal of transitioning a basic research method to an operational scenario in which sonobuoy data are routinely used to infer geoacoustic parameters of the seabed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6975244
Pages (from-to)607-620
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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