Can Sound from Offshore Wind Farms Affect Marine Life? A New Tool May Tell You
July 1, 2019

Renewable energy from offshore wind is a promising future energy source. But, designing and permitting wind and ocean development projects can be difficult because of limited knowledge on their potential environmental effects. In particular, noise and underwater sound generated by offshore marine renewable energy developments are poorly understood and tools for gathering data are limited.

Deployment of NoiseSpotter during field studies.

To solve this challenge, Integral Consulting scientists Kaustubha Raghukumar, Ph.D., Grace Chang, Ph.D., Frank Spada, Craig Jones, Ph.D., and other colleagues have developed a new tool, called “NoiseSpotter,” to help characterize and localize sources of sound in ocean environments. On July 4, 2019, Dr. Raghukumar will present research on the NoiseSpotter instrument at the Underwater Acoustics conference in Hersonissos, Crete.

In his presentation “Performance characteristics of a vector sensor array in an energetic tidal channel,” Dr. Raghukumar will describe the results of studies performed during a series of field trials. During these studies, the NoiseSpotter instrument was deployed on a bottom platform in an 8 m deep tidal channel in Sequim Bay, Washington. Pure tones were transmitted from a drifting vessel whose distance from the bottom platform varied between 50 m and 500 m. The effect of flow noise on vector sensor array performance was quantified along with the detectability of low intensity sound in an energetic environment. The results suggest that the custom screen, made of ballistic nylon, to remove flow noise improved data quality and system performance. This allows for accurate acoustic assessments in energetic oceanographic environments.

For more information about Integral’s marine energy services, contact Dr. Raghukumar at kraghukumar@integral-corp.com.

Learn more about conference.