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  Monitoring the global ocean through underwater acoustics
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  Environmental Noise  

airgun spectrogram
Spectrogram of airgun noise. Airguns are used for seismic surveying of the ocean floors.

Since the advent of steamships in the 1850s, manmade sounds have influenced the levels of ambient noise in the oceans. Added to the background of natural noises, overall levels of sound in all frequency bands have increased. This increase may potentially influence both the behavior of marine animals and the ability of scientists to study acoustic phenomena in the ocean. Studies of the effect of noise, both manmade and natural, on marine life are being planned in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries researchers.

Examples of man-made environmental sounds are shown below. Natural environmental sounds include earthquakes, landslides, and weather (such as rain and waves).

  Man-made sounds  

Note time and frequency scales are not identical, spectrograms displayed together for a general comparison of images.

audio iconClick on spectrogram to hear sound (wav file).

Click on image "name" for a complete description of the sound.

Use QuickTime player to listen to the sounds.

Ron Brown Ron Brown sound
speed 10x
wav: 841KB
Air guns airgun sound
speed 10x
wav: 809KB
Ship at phone
ship at hydrophone sound
speed 10x
wav: 1.27MB
small ship sound
speed 10x
wav: 809KB
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