Measurements, analysis and modeling of wind-driven ambient noise in shallow brackish water

Ari Poikonen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Underwater ambient noise measurements were conducted in shallow brackish water environments in the Gulf of Finland over a frequency range from 20 Hz to 70 kHz. The ambient noise levels are in fairly good agreement with average oceanic deep water levels for the highest wind speeds but the wind speed dependences differ markedly from each other. In shallow brackish water the wind speed dependence factor at 200 Hz is ~ 2.4 which is significantly higher than the typical factor of ~ 1.5 for the ocean environment. The high-frequency behavior of the spectra was resolved by modeling dispersion and noise in bubbly water. Absorption in brackish and fresh water, unlike in ocean water, tends to decrease above a frequency of 10 kHz due to the low proportion of small bubbles in bubbly mixtures created by breaking waves. The excess high-frequency attenuation in spectra above 10 kHz cannot therefore be attributed to the effects of absorption in a bubbly mixture. Bubble size distributions fitted to the brackish water spectra exhibit a distinctive maximum in the radius range 0.1 - 0.3 mm, and a substantial drop in bubble density below a radius of 0.1 mm. The brackish water bubble size distributions were tied to an oceanic spectrum with a spectral slope of 5.7 dB/octave obtained with a -3/2 power law dependence of bubble size density on radius. The measurements were carried out in all four seasons of the year but no significant seasonal effects were found in any parameter calculated from the spectra. This is probably due to the dominance of near field conditions in the measurements, where the role of long-range propagation effects was negligible. One should, however, be careful not to generalize the present brackish water results too much due to the inherent complexity of the coastal situation. Bubble densities are known to have considerable spatial variability depending on seasonal, biological, and even weather conditions.
Translated title of the contributionTuulen matalassa murtovedessä aiheuttaman vedenalaisen kohinan mittaus, analyysi ja mallinnus
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Laine, Unto K. , Supervising Professor
  • Kalliomäki, Martti, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-4513-9
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4514-6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • underwater acoustics
  • ambient noise
  • bubbles
  • hydrophones
  • sonar
  • Baltic Sea
  • Gulf of Finland


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