Sea Surface Sound: Natural Mechanisms of Surface Generated Noise in the Ocean

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In its relentless pursuit of further knowledge, science tends to compartmentalize. Over the years the pursuit of What might be called geophysical acoustics of the sea-surface has languished. This has occured even through there are well-developed and active research programs in underwater acoustics, ocean hydrodynamics, cloud and precipitation physics, and ice mechanics - to name a few - as well as a history of engineering expertise built on these scientific fields. It remained to create a convergence, a dialogue across disciplines, of mutual benefit. The central theme of the Lerici workshop, perhaps overly simplified, was 'What are the mechanisms causing ambient noise at the upper surface of the ocean?' What could hydrodynamicists contribute to a better understanding of breaking wave dynamics, bubble production, ocean wave dynamics, or near-surface turbulence for the benefit of the underwater acoustics community? What further insights could fluid dynamicists gain by including acoustic measurements in their repertoire of instrumentation? While every attendee will have his or her percep- tions of details, it was universally agreed that a valuable step had been taken to bring together two mature disciplines and that significant co-operative studies would undoubtedly follow. The scope of the workshop was enlarged beyond its original intent to also include the question of ice-noise generation. The success of this decision can be seen in high quality of the presentations. the contribution of its disciples in the other workshop discussions and the heightened awareness and interest of we other novices.