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Peter G. Black, John R. Proni, John C. Wilkerson, and Christopher E. Samsury

Abstract

Measurements of the underwater sound produced by rain were made at three U.S. coastal sites in a study to determine the feasibility and limitations of the acoustic detection and classification of rainfall over water. In the analysis of the rain sound spectra, concurrent radar reflectivity observations were used to identify convective and stratiform regions of the precipitating clouds overhead. It was found that acoustic classifications of rainfall as to type, based on information in the 4–30-kHz frequency band, were in general agreement with radar-derived classifications. The classification technique is based on use of an acoustic discriminant, DR, defined as the difference in average spectral levels between the 10–30- and 4–10-kHz bands. A high correlation was found between sound spectrum levels (in decibels) in the 4–10-kHz frequency band and radar reflectivity, dBZ, suggesting the possible use of the 4–10-kHz band sound spectral level as a classification tool using spatially distributed hydrophones in the same way that radar reflectivity is used in classifying precipitation. The results demonstrate the feasibility of the acoustic method for detecting and classifying rainfall at sea.

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