Broad-Band Calibration of Marine Seismic Sources Used by R/V Polarstern for Academic Research in Polar Regions

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2008

Geophysical Journal International

Air guns and air-gun arrays of different volumes are used for scientific seismic surveys with R/V Polarstern in polar regions. To assess the potential risk of these research activities on marine mammal populations, knowledge of the sound pressure field of the seismic sources is essential. Therefore, a broad-band (0–80 kHz) calibration study was conducted at the Heggernes Acoustic Range, Norway. A GI (2.4 l), a G (8.5 l) and a Bolt gun (32.8 l) were deployed as single sources, 3 GI (7.4 l), 3 G (25.6 l) and 8 VLF™Prakla-Seismos air guns (24.0 l) as arrays. Each configuration was fired along a line of 3–4 km length running between two hydrophone chains with receivers in 35, 100, 198 and 263 m depth. Peak-to-peak, zero-to-peak, rms and sound exposure levels (SEL) were analysed as functions of range. They show the typical dipole-like directivity of marine seismic sources with amplitude cancellation close to the sea surface, higher amplitudes in greater depths, and sound pressure levels which continuously decrease with range. Levels recorded during the approach are lower than during the departure indicating a shadowing effect of Polarsterns’s hull. Backcalculated zero-to-peak source levels range from 224–240 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m. Spectral source levels are highest below 100 Hz and amount to 182–194 dB re 1 μPa Hz–1. They drop off continuously with range and frequency. At 1 kHz they are ∼30 dB, at 80 kHz ∼60 dB lower than the peak level. Above 1 kHz amplitude spectra are dominated by Polarstern’s self-noise. From the rms and sound exposure levels of the deepest hydrophone radii for different thresholds are derived. For a 180 dB rms-level threshold radii maximally vary between 200 and 600 m, for a 186 dB SEL threshold between 50 and 300 m.

Link To Publication


Similar Research

Influences of man-made noise and other human actions on cetacean behaviour

Pay-walled Journal Article 1995

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology

Behavioral reactions of cetaceans to man-made noises are highly variable, ranging from attraction (e.g. bow riding by dolphins) or no response through short-term changes in behaviour...
Read More

A Summary of Existing and Future Potential Treatments for Reducing Underwater Sounds from Oil and Gas Industry Activities

Pay-walled Conference 2007


This paper summarizes the efforts undertaken by the author to identify existing and future potential methods to reduce underwater sound levels created by nearly all oil...
Read More

Influence of seismic surveys on western gray whales off Sakhalin Island, Russia in 2001

Open Access Report 2002

Publications, Agencies and Staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Western gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) aggregate off the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia during summer-autumn to feed on benthic and near-benthic prey. During summer 2001,...
Read More

Broadband spectra of seismic survey air-gun emissions, with reference to dolphin auditory thresholds

Pay-walled Journal Article 1998

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Acoustic emissions from a 2120 cubic in. air-gun array were recorded through a towed hydrophone assembly during an oil industry 2-D seismic survey off the West...
Read More

Effects of seismic energy releases on the survival and development of zoeal larvae of dungeness crab (Cancer magister)

Pay-walled Journal Article 1994

Marine Environmental Research

In blind, controlled field experiments, early Stage II zoeae of Dungeness crab (Cancer magister DANA) were exposed to sounds from single discharges of a 13·8-litre array...
Read More

Low-frequency whale and seismic airgun sounds recorded in the mid-Atlantic Ocean

Pay-walled Journal Article 2004

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Beginning in February 1999, an array of six autonomous hydrophones was moored near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (35°N–15°N, 50°W–33°W). Two years of data were reviewed for whale...
Read More

Quantitative measures of air-gun pulses recorded on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using acoustic tags during controlled exposure experiments

Pay-walled Journal Article 2006

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

The widespread use of powerful, low-frequency air-gun pulses for seismic seabed exploration has raised concern about their potential negative effects on marine wildlife. Here, we quantify...
Read More

Criteria and Thresholds of U.S. Navy Acoustic and Explosive Effects Analysis.

Open Access Report 2012

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Centre Pacific

Sounds produced from naval activities can be divided into seven categories: (1) Sonars and other active acoustic sources; (2) Explosive detonations; (3) Ship noise; (4) Aircrafts...
Read More

A brief overview of seismic air-gun arrays.

Open Access Journal Article 2000

The Leading Edge

This article summarizes salient points one must know about seismic air-gun arrays to discuss seriously how they might affect marine life. It is by no means...
Read More

Short-term disturbance by a commercial two-dimensional seismic survey does not lead to long-term displacement of harbour porpoises

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2013

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Assessments of the impact of offshore energy developments are constrained because it is not known whether fine-scale behavioural responses to noise lead to broader-scale displacement of...
Read More