Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science



Major Professor

Ioup, George; Chin-Bing, Stanley

Second Advisor

Ioup, Juliette

Third Advisor

Murphy, Joseph

Fourth Advisor

Eller, Anthony

Fifth Advisor

Jilkov, Vesselin


Long-term omni-directional ambient noise was collected at several sites in the Gulf of Mexico during 2004 and 2005. The Naval Oceanographic Office deployed bottom moored Environmental Acoustic Recording System (EARS) buoys approximately 159 nautical miles south of Panama City, Florida, in water depths of 3200 meters. The hydrophone of each buoy was 265 meters above the bottom. The data duration ranged from 10-14 months. The buoys were located near a major shipping lane, with an estimated 1.5 to 4.5 ships per day passing nearby. The data were sampled at 2500 Hz and have a bandwidth of 10-1000 Hz. Data are processed in eight 1/3-octave frequency bands, centered from 25 to 950 Hz, and monthly values of the following statistical quantities are computed from the resulting eight time series of noise spectral level: mean, median, standard deviation, skewness, kurtosis and coherence time. Four hurricanes were recorded during the summer of 2004 and they have a major impact on all of the noise statistics. Noise levels at higher frequencies (400-950 Hz) peak during extremely windy months (summer hurricanes and winter storms). Standard deviation is least in the region 100-200 Hz but increases at higher frequencies, especially during periods of high wind variability (summer hurricanes). Skewness is positive from 25-400 Hz and negative from 630-950 Hz. Skewness and kurtosis are greatest near 100 Hz. Coherence time is low in shipping bands and high in weather bands, and it peaks during hurricanes. The noise coherence is also analyzed. The 14-month time series in each 1/3- octave band is highly correlated with other 1/3-octave band time series ranging from 2 octaves below to 2 octaves above the band's center frequency. Spatial coherence between hydrophones is also analyzed for hydrophone separations of 2.29, 2.56 and 4.84 km over a 10-month period. The noise field is highly coherent out to the maximum distance studied, 4.84 km. Additionally, fluctuations of each time series are analyzed to determine time scales of greatest variability. The 14-month data show clearly that variability occurs primarily over three time scales: 7-22 hours (shipping-related), 56-282 hours (2-12 days, weather-related) and over an 8-12 month period.


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