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  1. SUMMARY A fleet of autonomously drifting profiling floats equipped with hydrophones, known by their acronym mermaid, monitors worldwide seismic activity from inside the oceans. The instruments are programmed to detect and transmit acoustic pressure conversions from teleseismic P wave arrivals for use in mantle tomography. Reporting seismograms in near-real time, within hours or days after they were recorded, the instruments are not usually recovered, but if and when they are, their memory buffers can be read out. We present a unique 1-yr-long data set of sound recorded at frequencies between 0.1 and 20 Hz in the South Pacific around French Polynesia by a mermaid float that was, in fact, recovered. Using time-domain, frequency-domain and time-frequency-domain techniques to comb through the time-series, we identified signals from 213 global earthquakes known to published catalogues, with magnitudes 4.6–8.0, and at epicentral distances between 24° and 168°. The observed signals contain seismoacoustic conversions of compressional and shear waves travelling through crust, mantle and core, including P, S, Pdif, Sdif, PKIKP, SKIKS, surface waves and hydroacoustic T phases. Only 10 earthquake records had been automatically reported by the instrument—the others were deemed low-priority by the onboard processing algorithm. After removing all seismic signals from the record,more »and also those from other transient, dominantly non-seismic, sources, we are left with the infrasonic ambient noise field recorded at 1500 m depth. We relate the temporally varying noise spectral density to a time-resolved ocean-wave model, WAVEWATCH III. The noise record is extremely well explained, both in spectral shape and in temporal variability, by the interaction of oceanic surface gravity waves. These produce secondary microseisms at acoustic frequencies between 0.1 and 1 Hz according to the well-known frequency-doubling mechanism.« less
  2. SUMMARY We present the first 16 months of data returned from a mobile array of 16 freely floating diving instruments, named mermaid for Mobile Earthquake Recording in Marine Areas by Independent Divers, launched in French Polynesia in late 2018. Our 16 are a subset of the 50 mermaid deployed over a number of cruises in this vast and understudied oceanic province as part of the collaborative South Pacific Plume Imaging and Modeling (SPPIM) project, under the aegis of the international EarthScope-Oceans consortium. Our objective is the hydroacoustic recording, from within the oceanic water column, of the seismic wavefield generated by earthquakes worldwide, and the nearly real-time transmission by satellite of these data, collected above and in the periphery of the South Pacific Superswell. This region, characterized by anomalously elevated oceanic crust and myriad seamounts, is believed to be the surface expression of deeply rooted mantle upwellings. Tomographically imaging Earth’s mantle under the South Pacific with data from these novel instruments requires a careful examination of the earthquake-to-mermaid traveltimes of the high-frequency P-wave detections within the windows selected for reporting by the discrimination algorithms on board. We discuss a workflow suitable for a fast-growing mobile sensor database to pick the relevant arrivals,more »match them to known earthquakes in global earthquake catalogues, calculate their traveltime residuals with respect to global seismic reference models, characterize their quality and estimate their uncertainty. We detail seismicity rates as recorded by mermaid over 16 months, quantify the completeness of our catalogue and discuss magnitude–distance relations of detectability for our network. The projected lifespan of an individual mermaid is 5 yr, allowing us to estimate the final size of the data set that will be available for future study. To prove their utility for seismic tomography we compare mermaid data quality against ‘traditional’ land seismometers and their low-cost Raspberry Shake counterparts, using waveforms recovered from instrumented island stations in the geographic neighbourhood of our floats. Finally, we provide the first analyses of traveltime anomalies for the new ray paths sampling the mantle under the South Pacific.« less
  3. Abstract To better understand earthquakes as a hazard and to better understand the interior structure of the Earth, we often want to measure the physical displacement, velocity, or acceleration at locations on the Earth’s surface. To this end, a routine step in an observational seismology workflow is the removal of the instrument response, required to convert the digital counts recorded by a seismometer to physical displacement, velocity, or acceleration. The conceptual framework, which we briefly review for students and researchers of seismology, is that of the seismometer as a linear time-invariant system, which records a convolution of ground motion via a transfer function that gain scales and phase shifts the incoming signal. In practice, numerous software packages are widely used to undo this convolution via deconvolution of the instrument’s transfer function. Here, to allow the reader to understand this process, we start by taking a step back to fully explore the choices made during this routine step and the reasons for making them. In addition, we introduce open-source routines in Python and MATLAB as part of our rflexa package, which identically reproduce the results of the Seismic Analysis Code, a ubiquitous and trusted reference. The entire workflow is illustrated onmore »data recorded by several instruments on Princeton University campus in Princeton, New Jersey, of the 9 September 2020 magnitude 3.1 earthquake in Marlboro, New Jersey.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We describe an algorithm to pick event onsets in noisy records, characterize their error distributions, and derive confidence intervals on their timing. Our method is based on an Akaike information criterion that identifies the partition of a time series into a noise and a signal segment that maximizes the signal-to-noise ratio. The distinctive feature of our approach lies in the timing uncertainty analysis, and in its application in the time domain and in the wavelet timescale domain. Our novel data are records collected by freely floating Mobile Earthquake Recording in Marine Areas by Independent Divers (MERMAID) instruments, midcolumn hydrophones that report triggered segments of ocean-acoustic time series.
  5. From early 2003 to mid-2013, the total mass of ice in Greenland declined at a progressively increasing rate. In mid-2013, an abrupt reversal occurred, and very little net ice loss occurred in the next 12–18 months. Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and global positioning system (GPS) observations reveal that the spatial patterns of the sustained acceleration and the abrupt deceleration in mass loss are similar. The strongest accelerations tracked the phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The negative phase of the NAO enhances summertime warming and insolation while reducing snowfall, especially in west Greenland, driving surface mass balance (SMB) more negative, as illustrated using the regional climate model MAR. The spatial pattern of accelerating mass changes reflects the geography of NAO-driven shifts in atmospheric forcing and the ice sheet’s sensitivity to that forcing. We infer that southwest Greenland will become a major future contributor to sea level rise.