Soundscape and ambient noise levels of the Arctic waters around Greenland

Michael Ladegaard*, Jamie Donald John Macaulay, Malene Simon, K.L. Laidre, Aleksandrina Leonidova Mitseva, Simone Kristine Alexandra Videsen, Michael Bjerre Pedersen, Jakob Tougaard, Professor Peter Teglberg Madsen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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A longer Arctic open water season is expected to increase underwater noise levels due to anthropogenic activities such as shipping, seismic surveys, sonar, and construction. Many Arctic marine mammal species depend on sound for communication, navigation, and foraging, therefore quantifying underwater noise levels is critical for documenting change and providing input to management and legislation. Here we present long-term underwater sound recordings from 26 deployments around Greenland from 2011 to 2020. Ambient noise was analysed in third octave and decade bands and further investigated using generic detectors searching for tonal and transient sounds. Ambient noise levels partly overlap with previous Arctic observations, however we report much lower noise levels than previously documented, specifically for Melville Bay and the Greenland Sea. Consistent seasonal noise patterns occur in Melville Bay, Baffin Bay and Greenland Sea, with noise levels peaking in late summer and autumn correlating with open water periods and seismic surveys. These three regions also had similar tonal detection patterns that peaked in May/June, likely due to bearded seal vocalisations. Biological activity was more readily identified using detectors rather than band levels. We encourage additional research to quantify proportional noise contributions from geophysical, biological, and anthropogenic sources in Arctic waters.
TidsskriftScientific Reports
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2021


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