National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2020

Ocean sound levels in the northeast Pacific recorded from an autonomous underwater glider

Haxel, J.H., H. Matsumoto, C. Meinig, G. Kalbach, T.-K.A. Lau, R.P. Dziak, and S. Stalin

PLoS One, 14(11), e0225325, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225325, View online (2019)

Ocean gliders are a quiet and efficient mobile autonomous platform for passive acoustic monitoring and oceanographic measurements in remote marine environments. During July 20—August 6 2012, we used a Teledyne Webb Research Slocum G2 glider equipped with a hydrophone logging system to record ocean sound along a 458 km north to south traverse of the outer continental shelf break along the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast. Glider derived recordings yielded a unique perspective on the variation of ambient sound with depth, where natural wind generated surface processes were identified as a dominant acoustic contributor to spectral levels in the region. Near and far-field vessel radiated noise were also found to add significant energy to ambient conditions. Spatially distributed measurements of ambient sound levels recorded from the glider were consistent with long-term spectral estimates from fixed station, deep ocean hydrophone array measurements during the 1990–2000s in the region. Ocean sound level measurements captured by a mobile glider are shown to be an effective and valuable asset for describing ocean surface wind conditions and characterizing spatial and temporal changes in the underwater acoustic environment over a broad regional scale.

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