Seismic airgun sound propagation in Arctic Ocean waveguides

Keen, KA, Thayre BJ, Hildebrand JA, Wiggins SM.  2018.  Seismic airgun sound propagation in Arctic Ocean waveguides. Deep-Sea Research Part I-Oceanographic Research Papers. 141:24-32.

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acoustic propagation, Arctic Ocean, balaena-mysticetus, bowhead, Noise pollution, Oceanography, Seismic airguns, Sound propagation, transmission loss, whales


Underwater recordings of seismic airgun surveys in the deep-water Beaufort Sea and on the shallow-water Chukchi Sea shelf were made from sites on the continental slope and shelf break north-northwest of Point Barrow, Alaska. Airgun pulses from the deep-water survey were recorded more than 500 km away, and from the shallow-water survey up to similar to 100 km. In the deep-water, received sound pressure levels show spherical spreading propagation; whereas, sound exposure levels exhibit cylindrical spreading propagation. Over the shallow-water shelf, transmission losses were much greater than spherical spreading, due to energy loss in the seafloor. Understanding how sound propagates across large spatial scales in the Arctic Ocean is important for better management and mitigation of anthropogenic noise pollution in marine soundscapes, especially as diminished ice in the Arctic Ocean allows for longer range sound propagation.