Article

Quantifying seismic survey reverberation off the Alaskan North Slope.

Marine Physical Laboratory, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0238, USA.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (Impact Factor: 1.65). 11/2011; 130(5):3046-58. DOI: 10.1121/1.3628326
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Shallow-water airgun survey activities off the North Slope of Alaska generate impulsive sounds that are the focus of much regulatory attention. Reverberation from repetitive airgun shots, however, can also increase background noise levels, which can decrease the detection range of nearby passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) systems. Typical acoustic metrics for impulsive signals provide no quantitative information about reverberation or its relative effect on the ambient acoustic environment. Here, two conservative metrics are defined for quantifying reverberation: a minimum level metric measures reverberation levels that exist between airgun pulse arrivals, while a reverberation metric estimates the relative magnitude of reverberation vs expected ambient levels in the hypothetical absence of airgun activity, using satellite-measured wind data. The metrics are applied to acoustic data measured by autonomous recorders in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea in 2008 and demonstrate how seismic surveys can increase the background noise over natural ambient levels by 30-45 dB within 1 km of the activity, by 10-25 dB within 15 km of the activity, and by a few dB at 128 km range. These results suggest that shallow-water reverberation would reduce the performance of nearby PAM systems when monitoring for marine mammals within a few kilometers of shallow-water seismic surveys.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
107 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In 2009 two calibrated acoustic recorders were deployed in polar waters of the North Atlantic to study the seasonal occurrence of blue, fin, and sperm whales and to assess current ambient noise levels. Sounds from these cetaceans were recorded at both locations in most months of the year. During the summer months, seismic airguns associated with oil and gas exploration were audible for weeks at a time and dominated low frequency noise levels. Noise levels might further increase in the future as the receding sea ice enables extended human use of the area.
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 09/2012; 132(3):EL176-81. · 1.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Between 15 and 17 August 2010, a simple two-element vertical array was deployed off the continental slope of Southeast Alaska in 1200 m water depth. The array was attached to a vertical buoy line used to mark each end of a longline fishing set, at 300 m depth, close to the sound-speed minimum of the deep-water profile. The buoy line also served as a depredation decoy, attracting seven sperm whales to the area. One animal was tagged with both a LIMPET dive depth-transmitting satellite and bioacoustic "B-probe" tag. Both tag datasets were used as an independent check of various passive acoustic schemes for tracking the whale in depth and range, which exploited the elevation angles and relative arrival times of multiple ray paths recorded on the array. Analytical tracking formulas were viable up to 2 km range, but only numerical propagation models yielded accurate locations up to at least 35 km range at Beaufort sea state 3. Neither localization approach required knowledge of the local bottom bathymetry. The tracking system was successfully used to estimate the source level of an individual sperm whale's "clicks" and "creaks" and predict the maximum detection range of the signals as a function of sea state.
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 09/2013; 134(3):2446-61. · 1.65 Impact Factor

Full-text

View
64 Downloads
Available from
May 21, 2014