The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
This study presents long-term statistics on the ambient sound in the Southern Indian Ocean basin based on 2 years of data collected on six widely distributed autonomous hydrophones from 47°S to 4°S and 53°E to 83°E. Daily mean power spectra (10–100 Hz) were analyzed in order to identify the main sound sources and their space and time variability. Periodic signals are principally associated with the seasonal presence of three types of blue whales and fin whales whose signatures are easily identified at specific frequencies. In the low frequencies, occurrence of winter lows and summer highs in the ambient noise levels are well correlated with iceberg volume variations at the southern latitudes, suggesting that icebergs are a major sound source, seasonally contributing to the ambient noise, even at tropical latitudes (26°S). The anthropogenic contribution to the noise spectrum is limited. Shipping sounds are only present north and west of the study area in the vicinity of major traffic lanes. Acoustic recordings from the southern sites may thus be representative of the pristine ambient noise in the Indian Ocean.
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