Measurement of Sounds Emitted by Certain High-Resolution Geophysical Survey Systems

Pay-walled Peer Reviewed Publication 2018

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering

Scientific questions regarding the impact of anthropomorphic noise in the marine environment have resulted in an increasing number of regulatory requirements and precautionary mitigation strategies to reduce the risks associated with high-resolution marine geophysical surveys performed in waters subjected to government jurisdiction. An example of regulatory frameworks includes the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the United States and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC in the European Union. Regulatory compliance often requires an assessment of the potential ecological risks before initiating a marine geophysical survey. However, the acoustic source data needed to estimate the risk associated with the operation of a given high-resolution survey system are frequently lacking. A comprehensive measurement program was performed to quantify the characteristics of sounds radiated by a variety of commercial marine geophysical survey systems, including Boomers, sparkers, airguns, chirp sub-bottom profilers, Side scan sonars, and swath-bathymetric sonars [Crocker and Fratantonio, “Characteristics of high-frequency sounds emitted during high-resolution marine geophysical surveys,” Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, RI, USA, NUWC-NPT Tech. Rep. 12, 203, 2016]. Calibrated acoustic source data, including source levels, source spectra, and beam patterns, were acquired for a total of 18 different marine geophysical survey systems. The data support modeling to estimate the potential ecological impacts resulting from the operation of certain high-resolution marine geophysical survey systems.

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