Exclusion of tidal influence on ambient sound measurements

Nienke C. F. Van Geel, Nathan D. Merchant, Ross M. Culloch, Ewan W. J. Edwards, Ian M. Davies, Rory B. O'hara Murray, Kate L. Brookes

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Abstract

Growing concern about the impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine life has led to a global increase in the number of acoustic monitoring programmes aiming to quantify underwater soundscapes. However, low-frequency measurements in coastal sites may be affected by flow noise that is not actually present in the environment, but is caused by tidal flow turbulence around the hydrophone. At present, there is no standard way of removing this contaminating noise. This study presents an approach to exclude tidal influences (flow noise and other tidal-related acoustic self-noise) on ambient sound measurements, using data recorded at ten Scottish coastal sites between 2013 and 2017, and with a focus on the 63 and 125 Hz 1/3-octave bands. The annual ambient sound pressure levels (SPL) of the full and “tidal influence excluded” datasets of the three most tidally affected sites were compared against hypothetical noise thresholds. For the 63 Hz 1/3-octave band, results revealed: Site-specific patterns in the amount of data excluded (28.2%–89.2%), decreases in SPL (0.7–8.5 dB), and differences in the percentage of time that noise thresholds were exceeded. The described approach may serve as a standardised way of excluding tidal influence on soundscape descriptors.
I. INTRODUCTION
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume148
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020

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    Van Geel, N. C. F., Merchant, N. D., Culloch, R. M., Edwards, E. W. J., Davies, I. M., O'hara Murray, R. B., & Brookes, K. L. (2020). Exclusion of tidal influence on ambient sound measurements. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 148(2). https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0001704