This paper is to answer the question “How can inter- and intra-annual variability in the ocean be leveraged by the submarine Force?” through quantifying inter- and intra-annual variability in (T, S) fields and in turn underwater acoustic characteristics such as transmission loss, signal excess, and range of detection. The Navy’s Generalized Digital Environmental Model (GDEM) is the climatological monthly mean data and represents mean annual variability. An optimal spectral decomposition method is used to produce a synoptic monthly gridded (SMG) (T, S) dataset for the world oceans with 1° ×1° horizontal resolution, 28 vertical levels (surface to 3,000 m depth), monthly time increment from January 1945 to December 2014 now available at the NOAA/NCEI website: http://data.nodc.noaa.gov/cgibin/iso?id=gov.noaa.nodc:0140938. The sound velocity decreases from 1945 to 1975 and increases afterwards due to global climate change. Effect of the inter- and intra-annual (T, S) variability on acoustic propagation in the Yellow Sea is investigated using a well-developed acoustic model (Bellhop) in frequencies from 3.5 kHz to 5 kHz with sound velocity profile (SVP) calculated from GDEM and SMG datasets, various bottom types (silty clay, fine sand, gravelly mud, sandy mud, and cobble or gravel) from the NAVOCEANO‘s High Frequency Environmental Algorithms (HFEVA), source and receiver depths. Acoustic propagation ranges are extended drastically due to the inter-annual variability in comparison with the climatological SVP (from GDEM). Submarines’ vulnerability of detection as its depth varies and avoidance of short acoustic range due to inter-annual variability are also discussed.