Global examination of the wind-dependence of very low frequency underwater ambient noise

Stephen M. Nichols, David Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ocean surface winds play a key role in underwater ambient noise generation. One particular frequency band of interest is the infrasonic or very low frequency (VLF) band from 1 to 20 Hz. In this spectral band, wind generated ocean surface waves interact non-linearly to produce acoustic waves, which couple into the seafloor to generate microseisms, as explained by the theory developed by Longuet-Higgins. This study examines long term data sets in the VLF portion of the ambient noise spectrum, collected by the hydroacoustic systems of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Three properties of the noise field were examined: (a) the behavior of the acoustic spectrum slope from 1 to 5 Hz, (b) correlation of noise levels and wind speeds, and (c) the autocorrelation behavior of both the noise field and the wind. Analysis results indicate the spectrum slope is site dependent, and for both correlation methods, a high correlation between wind and the noise field in the 1-5 Hz band.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1110-1123
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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