Prediction of underwater sound levels from rain and wind

Barry Ma, Jeffrey A. Nystuen and Ren-Chieh Lien

Applied Physics Laboratory
Univeristy of Washington
Seattle, Washington


Abstract: Wind and rain generated ambient sound from the ocean represents the background baseline of ocean noise. Understanding these ambient sounds under different conditions will facilitate allow other scientific studies. For example, measurement of the processes producing the sound, assessment of sonar performance and helping to understand the influence of anthropogenic generated noise on marine mammals. About 90 buoy-months of ocean ambient sound data have been collected using Acoustic Rain Gauges in different open-ocean locations in the Tropical Pacific Ocean. Distinct ambient sound spectra for various rainfall rates and wind speeds are identified through a series of discrimination processes. Five divisions of the sound spectra associated with different sound generating mechanisms can be predicted using either wind speed or rainfall rate as an input variables. The ambient sound data collected from the Intertropical Convergence Zone are used to construct the prediction algorithms, and are tested on the data from the Western Pacific Warm Pool. This physical based empirical model predicts the ambient sound spectra (0.5 50 kHz) at rainfall rates from 2-200 mm/hr and wind speeds from 2-14 m/s./p>


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