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Underwater Communication

1. Seismo-acoustic noise is present predominantly in the lower frequencies below 3Hz.
Knudsen curve is used to model this noise. This noise is the highest when compared to
other frequencies. This model usually is done with a straight line. Starting from 110db re
1uPa, it decreases linearly to around 70db re 1uPa at 10Hz.
2. Shipping noise is the main source after 10Hz. From 10-100Hz the value is nearly the
same, and can be considered constant. Noise level at 100Hz is the value considered for
3. Shipping noise effects mainly in 10-1000Hz. Noise level at 100Hz is dependent on the
shipping traffic. It varies from around 60-90db re 1uPa depending on the shipping
intensities. Since certain values cannot be calculated, 7 shipping intensity curves have
been considered. 2 Low intensity, 2 Medium intensity and 3 High intensity. These
intensity have been given to different regions in the different oceans of the world
according to observed data.
4. After 100Hz, the shipping noise can be modelled with frequency. The value at 100Hz is
considered the maximum. After 100Hz, the value of noise level decreased with the log
of frequency with a decay rate of 20db per decade.
Therefore NL=NL100-20*log(f/100);
5. Sea State starts effecting the ambient noise level after 500Hz. Different sea states are
defined according to Beaufort scale which depends on a range of wind speed in knots,
which represents different sea states like calm sea, gale, hurricane etc.
6. The noise level due to sea state is considered to be constant between 500-1000Hz
because of very less variations. Depending on the sea state the value of NL1000 differs.
With increase in frequency after 1000Hz, the noise decreases with the log of frequency
with a decay rate of 17db per decade.
Therefore NL=NL1000-17*log(f/1000);
7. One important thing to be noticed from noise level calculations done before is that the
variation in the noise from the modelled value is higher as frequency increases. So, with
increase in frequency, mean value of noise level decreases but variation in the value of
the noise level increases.
8. These variations in the noise level can be modelled using different methods like
Knudsen spectra (straight line), average value and other methods. But care might have
to be taken about the variation in noise level also.
9. Wentz curve provides the model for these noise discussed and the range of frequencies
these values effect. It uses Knudsen spectra for modelling the noise levels.
10. If two sources of noise are present at a certain frequency, then the total noise level is
calculated using ‘power summation’, since the noise levels are represented in db. The
noise level is converted to noise Power (dbm).
The present study includes the noises which can be modelled for a certain water body because
the shipping intensity and wind speed can be calculated and data can be used.
Simple model for the shipping and sea state noise is done using Matlab. The offset values of
Noise level at 100Hz and 1000Hz are obtained from journals and other sources or have been
estimated according to results given in different papers. Change in noise level with frequency
can be then modelled by the equations given above.

Graph showing noise levels for different cases of noise given in db re 1uPa.
Graph given in ‘Underwater_Acoustic_Modeling_PaulEtter’. The observations are taken from
Urick, 1983. The original idea was presented by Wentz.

Modelling results for noise level in units of db re 1uPa.

Simulation results for noise levels for shipping intensity 4 and sea state 2 converted to noise
power in dbm.