During the past five years, researchers at Penn State University (PSU) have used upward-looking multi-beam (MB) sonar to image the bubbly wakes of surface ships. In 2000, a 19-beam, 5° beam width, 120° sector, 250 kHz MB sonar integrated into an autonomous vehicle was used to obtain a first-of-a-kind look at the three-dimensional variability of bubbles in a large ship wake. In 2001 we acquired a Reson 8101 MB sonar, which operates at 240 kHz and features 101-1.5º beams spanning a 150º sector. In July 2002, the Reson sonar was deployed looking upward from a 1.4 m diameter buoy moored at 29.5 m depth in 550 m of water using three anchor lines. A fiber optic cable connected the sonar to a support ship 500 m away. Images of the wake of a small research vessel provided new information about the persistence of bubble clouds in the ocean. An important goal is to use the MB sonar to estimate wake bubble distributions, as has been done with single beam sonar. Here we show that multipath interference and strong, specular reflections from the sea surface adversely affect the use of MB sonars to unambiguously estimate wake bubble distribution


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Underwater Acoustic Measurements: Technologies & Results (UAM)

Conference Date

Jun 28 - Jul 1, 2005

Publisher Place

Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Document Type

Conference Proceeding