OBJECTIVES A primary goal of this research is to model biological clutter in the continental shelf environments of the ocean. We aim to do this by modeling scattered returns from fish shoals in continental shelf environments using a full field matched filter approach as well as its single frequency approximation. This will help in characterizing clutter and will help distinguish scattered fields of moving targets from stationary background reverberation and submerged targets in sonar data. We aim to develop a unified theory and model for ocean reverberation dependent on seafloor parameters such as density, compressibility and coherence volume. We will use a full field matched filter approach and its time harmonic approximation to model reverberation from volume inhomogeneities. A Monte-Carlo approach based on the parabolic equation will be applied to model acoustic wave propagation in a fluctuating ocean waveguide. We aim at using the model to invert for these parameters and obtain accurate estimates by calibrating modeled returns with data collected during past Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) experiments in 2003 and 2006 in the New Jersey continental shelf and the Gulf of Maine, respectively. The final goal of this research is to test the hypothesis that inexpensive underwater acoustic measurements can be used to determine the wind speed and classify the destructive power of a hurricane with greater accuracy than standard satellite remote sensing techniques and with at least the same accuracy as hurricane hunting aircraft.