The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Anthropogenic noise impacts marine mammals in a variety of ways. In order to estimate over which ranges this happens, we first need to understand the propagation of noise through the ocean away from the noise source, and, second, understand the relationship between received noise levels and impact thresholds. A software package combining both aspects is presented. (1) A sound propagation model based on ray theory was developed to calculate received noise levels as a function of range, depth, and frequency. (2) Current knowledge of noise impact thresholds for marine mammals was gathered and included in software routines predicting zones of impact on marine mammals around industrial underwater noise sources. As input parameters, this software package requires the source level and spectrum of the noise of interest; physical oceanography data about the local ocean environment such as bathymetry, bottom and surface loss data, and sound speed profiles; and bioacoustical information about the target species in the form of an audiogram, critical auditory bandwidths, spectra of typical animal vocalizations, reported sound levels of disturbance, and criteria for hearing damage. As output, the software produces data files and plots of the zones of audibility, masking, disturbance, and potential hearing damage around a noise source.
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