An at-sea experiment in deep water was conducted to explore the impact of small-scale sound-speed variability on mid-frequency ( 1 10 kHz) acoustic propagation. Short-range ( 1 5 km) acoustic transmissions were sent through the upper ocean ( 0 200 m) while oceanographic instruments simultaneously measured the ocean environment within 2 km of the single upper turning points of the acoustic transmissions. During these transmissions, acoustic receptions over a 7.875 m vertical line array show closely spaced, sometimes interfering arrivals. Ray and full-wave simulations of the transmissions using nearby sound-speed profiles are compared deterministically to the received acoustic signals. The sensitivity of the acoustic arrivals to the vertical scales of ocean sound speed is tested by comparing the observed and simulated arrival intensity where the sound-speed profile used by the simulation is smoothed to varying scales. Observations and modeling both suggest that vertical fine-scale structures ( 1 10 m) embedded in the sound-speed profile have strong second derivatives which allow for the formation of acoustic caustics as well as potentially interfering acoustic propagation multipaths.

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