The Arctic Ocean is undergoing dramatic changes, the most apparent being the rapidly reducing extent and thickness of the summer ice cover. As has been well established over prior decades, the environmental acoustics of the ice-covered Arctic is dominated by two major effects: the highly inhomogeneous ice cover, and the monotonically upward refracting sound speed profile, the combination of which forces all sound paths to be exposed to strong scattering loss and the associated loss of coherence. In some portions of the Arctic Ocean, however, a persistent inflow of a shallow ‘tongue’ of warm Pacific water has recently been strengthening, which has dramatically altered the acoustic environment, creating a strong acoustic duct between approximately 100 and 200 m depth. This duct has the potential of trapping sound out to significant ranges (80-100 km) without interacting with the ice cover, resulting in much higher coherence and signal preservation. Acoustic noise measurement results collected with a vertically suspended array during ICEX 2016 illustrate the spatial and temporal noise properties in the presence of this acoustic duct at different depths. Comparisons of the ICEX 2016 data are also made with modeled Arctic noise data. [Work supported by ONR and DARPA].

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