There are a number of environmental matters that those seeking the best performance from their sonar/SonarBell® will need to be conscious of including:
Sonar Propagation: Complex thermal distributions, sound velocity profiles and losses at the boundaries (sea bottom and surface) significantly affect acoustic propagation and hence the detection ranges achievable with various types of sonars.
Bottom Type and Composition: Bottom type (e.g. hard rock, firm sand, soft mud) largely determines the levels of bottom reverberation, clutter and roughness.
Bathymetry: Bathymetry determines the bottom depth and constraints of sonar operation along with slope and roughness.
Tides and Currents: Tidal currents and turbulence cause natural fluctuations in the water column. Current and tidal conditions can affect the performance of divers or remote vehicles, or even the ability of ships to manoeuvre in a controlled manner at slow speeds.
Sea State: High sea state and wind conditions can increase ambient noise, surface reverberation and clutter. High sea states can also hamper operations by various units and associated systems.
Water Clarity: Optical sensor performance (airborne or undersea) can vary appreciably depending on the optical clarity of the water but the silt or particulate load in the water can also affect the performance of the sonar.
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