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Re: Sensors and Zooplankton

From: aebrain@a...
Date: Wed, 30 May 101 05:58:41 GMT
Subject: Re: Sensors and Zooplankton

>  >Are those Not So Wee Beasties wandering
>  >around all quiet like or are they really really chatty?

> Well it'd be harder to find whales if they clammed up (which they 
> periodically do anyway), but I was actually talking about zooplankton
> about 5cm long). That's why it seemed weird that we can follow just
one of 
> those around (or pay attention to whole school or whatever you want to
> in between), but can't figure out what kind of ship that is over
there. But 
> like I always say I'm NO engineer!!!!

A few Sonar principles:
Long wavelength (Low frequency) sounds travel further than shortwave
frequency) sounds. HF sounds carry more information, but get absorbed
quickly. And there's a limit to how much energy you can pump into the
before it starts boiling ( in fact, most military active sonars heat
water to 
something over 90c in their near vicinity, and would do more if it
wasn't for 
the fact that cold water is continually rushing past, but I digress)

In order to see a greeblie that's 5cm long, you need a wavelength of
10cm or 
less, 2.5cm or less by choice. The speed of sound in water is on the
order of 1 
km/sec, so a wavelength on the order of 1cm means a frequency on the
order of 
100 KHz. At these wavelengths, there is essentially total absorbtion
after a 
few hundred metres. But at really short ranges, using such UHF (Ultra
Frequency) active sonars, you can do neat things like detect mines,
figure out 
their shape etc.
For those really interested, the Sonar Bible is "Principles of
Sound" by Robert J. Urick, ISBN: 0932146627 , referred to by sonar
mavens as 
just plain "Urick".

Anyway... ships radiate at a number of frequencies, including the line 
frequency of AC ( 50-300 Hz ), the frequency that any turbines move at,
usual 1-20 KHz of audible sound due to people talking, klaxons etc.
travel further, but still get absorbed. Stuff moving through the water
turbulence, which also makes noise. 

Whalesong, at really low frequencies, a few Hz, on the other hand, can
intercontinental distances. And a whale in a Deep Sound Channel, which
sound and keeps it in the channel much like a fibre optic line transmits
such a beastie can hear an echo of its own song after it's gone all
round the 

Anyway... you can sometimes hear ships at great distances, if you have a

receiver capable of tuning into the metre- or even 10-metre wavelengths.
you won't get much data from it, basically a "there's something in about
direction, could be a whale, an underwater volcano, or a supertanker,
from 10 to 10,000 km away, depending."

But get near a snapping shrimp, and you can't help detecting it by
means. And normal shrimp and other zooplankton turn up beautifully on
active sensors, but only within half a km.

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