Articles | Volume 21, issue 3
31 Mar 2003
 | 31 Mar 2003

Sound speed in the Mediterranean Sea: an analysis from a climatological data set

S. Salon, A. Crise, P. Picco, E. de Marinis, and O. Gasparini

Abstract. This paper presents an analysis of sound speed distribution in the Mediterranean Sea based on climatological temperature and salinity data. In the upper layers, propagation is characterised by upward refraction in winter and an acoustic channel in summer. The seasonal cycle of the Mediterranean and the presence of gyres and fronts create a wide range of spatial and temporal variabilities, with relevant differences between the western and eastern basins. It is shown that the analysis of a climatological data set can help in defining regions suitable for successful monitoring by means of acoustic tomography. Empirical Orthogonal Functions (EOF) decomposition on the profiles, performed on the seasonal cycle for some selected areas, demonstrates that two modes account for more than 98% of the variability of the climatological distribution. Reduced order EOF analysis is able to correctly represent sound speed profiles within each zone, thus providing the a priori knowledge for Matched Field Tomography. It is also demonstrated that salinity can affect the tomographic inversion, creating a higher degree of complexity than in the open oceans.

Key words. Oceanography: general (marginal and semi-enclosed seas; ocean acoustics)