Ambient noise dynamics in a heavy shipping area
The management of underwater noise within the European Union's waters is a significant component (Descriptor 11) of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The indicator related to continuous noise, is the noise levels in two one-third octave bands centered at 63 Hz and 125 Hz. This paper presents an analysis of underwater noise in the Celtic Sea, a heavy shipping area which also hosts the seasonal Ushant thermal front. In addition to the MSFD recommended frequency bands, the analysis was extended to lower and upper frequency bands. Temporal and spatial variations as well as the influence of the properties of the water column on the noise levels were assessed. The noise levels in the area had a high dynamic range and generally exceeded 100 dB re 1 μPa. Finally, the results highlighted that oceanic mooring must be designed to minimize the pseudo-noise and consider the water column physical properties.