The angular dependence of seafloor acoustic backscatter,measured with a 12‐kHz multi narrow‐beam echo‐sounder at two sites in the central North Pacific with water depths of 1500 and 3100 m, respectively, has been determined for incidence angles between 0° and 20°. The acoustic data consist of quadrature samples of the beamformed echoes received on each of the 16 2.66° beams of a Sea Beam echo‐sounder. These data are subjected to adaptive noise cancelling for sidelobe interference rejection, and the centroid of each echo is determined. After corrections for the ship’s roll and raybending effects through the water column, the angles of arrival are converted to angles of incidence by taking athwartships apparent bottom slopes into account. For each beam, the mean echo power received is normalized by the corresponding insonified area that depends on the transmit and receive beam patterns, the ship’s roll angle and the local bottom slope. For lack of system calibration, the data are presented as relative mean energy levels in 1° bins. Comparison of these results with theoretical angular dependence functions, based on the Helmholtz–Kirchhoff model for backscatter from a rough surface, indicates that a good fit is obtained in the angular sector from 5° to 20° incidence. In the near‐nadir sector (0° to 5°), the data suffer from high variance making the estimate unreliable. The data processing methods presented constitute one of the elements necessary to compile a map of seafloor acoustic backscatter from acoustic measurements made with a multinarrow beam echo‐sounder. The angular dependence function obtained will ultimately be used to normalize the backscattermeasurements in the athwartships direction.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America


90, Issue 1



Publisher Place

Melville, NY, USA


Acoustical Society of America

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article


© 1991 Acoustical Society of America