Acoustic characterization of exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas

BioAcoustica ID: 
Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2018
Authors:Austin, ME, Hannay, DE, Bröker, KC
Journal:The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Pagination:115 - 123
Date Published:Jan-07-2018

This paper characterizes underwater sound levels produced by three drilling units during offshore exploration drilling at three sites in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Received levels and spectra are reported as functions of distance during drilling and excavation of mudline cellars (MLCs). Sound levels emitted during MLC excavation exceeded those during drilling at all three sites, although this operation was much shorter in duration. Drilling sounds exhibited tones below 2 kHz, with harmonics present to 10 kHz, while MLC excavation sounds were broadband in character. Drilling sounds varied substantially between the three operations, whereas MLC excavation sounds were more consistent in amplitude and spectral distribution. Estimates of broadband and 1/3-octave band source levels were computed from measurements at 1 km range. The broadband drilling source levels were 168.6 dB re 1 μPa m for the Kulluk drilling unit, 174.9 dB re 1 μPa m for the drillship Noble Discoverer, and 170.1 dB re 1 μPa m for the semi-submersible Polar Pioneer. The received levels measured at 1 km during MLC excavation yielded source level estimates that were more consistent among sources: 191.8, 193.0, and 193.3 dB re 1 μPa for the Discoverer, Kulluk, and Polar Pioneer, respectively.

Short Title:The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Non biological: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith