The impact of glacier meltwater on the underwater noise field in a glacial bay

TitleThe impact of glacier meltwater on the underwater noise field in a glacial bay
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsGlowacki O., Moskalik M., Deane GB
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
Date Published2016/12
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2169-9275
Accession NumberWOS:000393140400003
Keywordsambient noise; hornsund fjord; ice; icebergs; leconte glacier; marine-terminating glaciers; passive hydroacoustics; propagation; sound; tidewater glaciers

Ambient noise oceanography is proving to be an efficient and effective tool for the study of ice-ocean interactions in the bays of marine-terminating glaciers. However, obtaining quantitative estimates of ice melting or calving processes from ambient noise requires an understanding of how sound propagation through the bay attenuates and filters the noise spectrum. Measurements of the vertical structure in sound speed in the vicinity of the Hans Glacier in Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen, made with O(130) CTD casts between May and November 2015, reveal high-gradient, upward-refracting sound speed profiles created by cold, fresh meltwater during summer months. Simultaneous recordings of underwater ambient noise made at depths of 1, 10, and 20 m in combination with propagation model calculations using the model Bellhop illustrate the dominant role these surface ducts play in shaping the underwater soundscape. The surface ducts lead to a higher intensity and greater variability of acoustic energy in the near-surface layer covered by glacially modified waters relative to deeper waters, indicating deeper zones as most appropriate for interseasonal acoustic monitoring of the glacial melt. Surface waveguides in Hornsund are relatively shallow and trap sound above O(1 kHz). Deeper waveguides observed elsewhere will also trap low-frequency sounds, such as those generated by calving events for example. Finally, the ambient noise field in Hornsund is shown to be strongly dependent on the distribution of ice throughout the bay, stressing the importance of performing complementary environmental measurements when interpreting the results of acoustic surveys.

Short TitleJ Geophys Res-Oceans
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