The Impact of Hurricanes on the US Outer Continental Shelf Underwater Soundscape

TitleThe Impact of Hurricanes on the US Outer Continental Shelf Underwater Soundscape
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
AuthorsTripathy, A, Miksis-Olds, J, Lyons, AP
Conference NameUnderwater Acoustics Conference and Exhibition (UACE) 2021
Conference DatesJune 8-10
PublisherAcoustical Society of America
Conference LocationVirtual

Hurricanes occur frequently in the North Atlantic, increasing the ambient sound due to wind-wave interaction. The relationship between ambient sound and hurricane intensity has been studied, however, the impact of hurricanes on the frequency components of the soundscape has not yet been assessed. The Atlantic Deepwater Ecosystem Observatory Network is comprised of passive acoustic sensors mounted on bottom landers at seven locations on the US Mid- and South Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, providing a multi-year dataset to assess the acoustic impact of hurricanes on the soundscape. Hurricanes Florence, Dorian, and Humberto impacted each of the lander locations, producing wind speeds up to 50 knots. Hurricane presence was quantitatively defined using statistical properties of hourly wind speed near the lander locations. Passive acoustic data from the two-year period were analyzed at each location, and changes in four frequency bands were assessed before, during, and after the defined period of hurricane impact as determined by wind speed. The ambient sound level due to the hurricanes increased by 25 dB at 0.1-7 kHz with minimal impact at lower frequencies. Maximum impact from the hurricanes occurred at 0.1-4 kHz which may affect acoustic measurements, such as detectability of sources contributing at these frequencies.

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