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Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate Project Records
SAC 0032  
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The collection consists of administrative files, technical documents, legal materials, correspondence and audiovisual materials from the Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate Project.
The theoretical origins of the Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) Project began in 1975 when Walter Munk and Carl Wunsch discovered ocean acoustic tomography as a technique with which to measure temperature variations across the large expanses of the ocean. This discovery activated the 1991 Heard Island Feasibility Test, which was designed to establish the usable parameters of long-range acoustic transmissions in the ocean. This precursory experiment determined that underwater sounds transmitted from Heard Island in the South Polar Sea could be discerned at great distances around the globe, and provided the necessary conceptual foundation for the launch of the ATOC program in 1993. The Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate Project was administered by the UCSD Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The purpose of the project was to investigate climate change using satellite altimetry, acoustic thermometry and climate modeling in the North Pacific Ocean. ATOC was initially approved and the appropriate permits were successfully attained. As originally hypothesized, data analyses from ATOC confirmed that acoustic thermometry can be used as an effective tool for measuring large-scale ocean temperature variability. However, the project stirred considerable public controversy regarding the effects of underwater acoustics on marine mammals. Continuous negative media attention compelled the funders of the project to withdraw their support, and ATOC was gradually defunded and ultimately discontinued in 2006. Peter Worcester transferred the ATOC files to the SIO Archives when the project's office closed.
15.6 Linear feet (39 archives boxes)
Publication rights are held by the Regents of the University of California.