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Title: Characterizing Large River Sounds: Providing Context for Understanding the Environmental Effects of Noise Produced by Hydrokinetic Turbines

Underwater noise associated with the installation and operation of hydrokinetic turbines in rivers and tidal zones presents a potential environmental concern for fish and marine mammals. Comparing the spectral quality of sounds emitted by hydrokinetic turbines to natural and other anthropogenic sound sources is an initial step at understanding potential environmental impacts. Underwater recordings were obtained from passing vessels of different sizes and other underwater sound sources in both static and flowing waters. Static water measurements were taken in a lake with minimal background noise. Flowing water measurements were taken at a previously proposed deployment site for hydrokinetic turbines on the Mississippi River, where the sound of flowing water is included in background measurements. The size of vessels measured ranged from a small fishing boat with a 60 HP outboard motor to an 18-unit barge train being pushed upstream by tugboat. As expected, large vessels with large engines created the highest sound levels, and when compared to the sound created by an operating HK turbine were many times greater. A comparison of sound levels from the same sources at different distances using both spherical and cylindrical sound attenuation functions suggests that spherical model results more closely approximate observed values.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 139(1):85–92
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Hydrokinetic Turbines; underwater acoustics