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Consultations, questions, and suggestions Research Support Information System on Acoustics
 
The speed of sound in sea water
 

The speed of sound in sea water depends on its temperature, as well as on the salinity and hydrostatic pressure. For calculation of the speed of sound, Wilson's empirical formula offered in 1960 is of common use. (Wilson W. D. Equation for the speed of sound in sea water.- J. Acoust. Soc. Amer., 1960, vol.32, N 10, p. 1357).

Wilson's formula is accepted by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) USA for computer processing of hydrological information.

Also, this formula formed the basis for hydroacoustical cal˝ulations in the USSR (see the "Tables for calculation of the speed of sound in sea water".- L.: UGS VMF, 1965).

Wilson's formula looks as follows:

    c(S,T,P) = c0 + D cT + D cS + D cP + D cSTP,
c0 = 1449.14,
D cT = 4.5721T - 4.4532·10-2T2 - 2.6045·10-4T3 + 7.9851·10-6T4,
D cS = 1.39799(S-35) - 1.69202·10-3(S-35)2,
D cP = 1.63432P - 1.06768·10-3P2 + 3.73403·10-6P3 - 3.6332·10-8P4,
D cSTP = (S-35)(-1.1244·10-2T + 7.7711·10-7T2 + 7.85344·10-4P -
               - 1.3458·10-5P2 + 3.2203·10-7PT + 1.6101·10-8T2P) +
               + P(-1.8974·10-3T + 7.6287·10-5T2 + 4.6176·10-7T3) +
               + P2(-2.6301·10-5T + 1.9302·10-7T2) + P3(-2.0831·10-7T),

where c(S,T,P) - speed of sound, m/s; T - temperature, ░C; S - salinity, per mille; P - hydrostatic pressure, MPa.

Wilson's formula is valid for the following ranges of temperature, salinity, and hydrostatic pressure:

  • temperature from -4░ to 30░;
  • salinity from 0 to 37 per mille;
  • hydrostatic pressure from 0.1 MPa to 100 MPa.

The mean-square error of calculation of the speed of sound via this formula with regard to Wilson's experimental data is 0.22 m/s.

 
Moving over the input fields with the aid of Tab button or the mouse enter values of temperature, salinity, and hydrostatic pressure in the format convenient for you: 24.78, 15E-3, 11e4 etc. and then click the Calculate button by the mouse.
 
Temperature, ░C  
Salinity, per mille
Hydrostatic pressure, MPa
 

 
Speed of sound, m/s