Overview of seismic research activities in the Southern Ocean - quantifying the environmental impact


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Monika.Breitzke [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Understanding the regional and seasonal distribution of seismic research surveys in the Southern Ocean is essential for assessing their acoustic impact on the marine environment. An analysis of the navigation data and cruise table in the Seismic Data Library System for Cooperative Research (SDLS) shows that a fairly extensive network of seismic lines is now available for the Southern Ocean. However, line spacing ranges from tens to hundreds of kilometres, and some almost unsurveyed areas still exist. The seasonal distribution of the seismic profile lengths shows periods with increased survey activity between 1976/77 and 2001/02, but only moderate levels of activity between 2002/03 and 2010/11. The corresponding line spacing is large, and lines are widely distributed over the Southern Ocean. None of the eight Antarctic regions considered here have experienced seismic survey activity during all summer seasons in the last 35 years. Instead, periods with survey activity are interspersed by periods with no survey activity. The average survey length ranges from ~2600 km/season off the Antarctic Peninsula to ~260 km/season off Enderby Land. Compared to the industrial seismic exploration off Norway the acoustic impact of the seismic research activity in the Southern Ocean is at least ~150 times lower.



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Article
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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Eprint ID
30988
DOI 10.1017/S095410201300031X

Cite as
Breitzke, M. (2014): Overview of seismic research activities in the Southern Ocean - quantifying the environmental impact , Antarctic Science, 26 (1), pp. 80-92 . doi: 10.1017/S095410201300031X


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