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Title: Long Range Passive Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (POAWRS) of Seismo-acoustic Airgun Signals Received on a Coherent Hydrophone Array
Airgun source systems generate low frequency underwater sound used in reflection and refraction seismology for mapping ocean bottom stratigraphy with important applications in ocean geosciences, such as understanding plate tectonics, ascertaining ocean geological history and climate change, and offshore hydrocarbon prospecting. Seismo-acoustic airgun signals from geophysical surveying activity were recorded at very long ranges, spanning roughly 175-195 km, on a large-aperture densely-populated linear coherent hydrophone array in the Norwegian Sea during Spring 2014. Off the coast of Alesund, airgun signals were detected with 8 s inter-pulse intervals for 3 to 24 hour time periods per day over the 4 days of hydrophone array operation in that region. Here we provide a time-frequency characterization and bearing-time estimation of the received airgun pulses. By correcting for transmission losses in the range- and depth-dependent Norwegian Sea environment, we estimate the source level distribution back projected to a distance of 1 m from the airgun source system. This back-projected source level distribution is then applied to model the Probability of Detection (PoD) region for the airgun signals with the coherent hydrophone array as the receiver in the Norwegian Sea employing the passive ocean acoustic waveguide remote sensing (POAWRS) technique. The estimates of back-projected source level distribution and PoD region provide an understanding of the horizontal spatial propagation extent of the signals from the airgun source system in the shallow and deep water regions of the Norwegian Sea. These results can also be applied to studies of the potential impact of airgun signals on marine organisms.  more » « less
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National Science Foundation
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