As the number and size of offshore turbines increase, so does the possible disruption to aquatic life.

Media Contact:
Larry Frum
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

DENVER, May 26, 2022 – When an offshore wind farm pops up, there is a period of noisy but well-studied and in most cases regulated construction. Once the turbines are operational, they provide a valuable source of renewable energy while emitting a constant lower level of sound that has not been fully investigated.

Frank Thomsen, of DHI, will discuss how this constant noise may impact wildlife in his presentation, “Operational underwater sound from future offshore wind turbines can affect the behavior of marine mammals.” The session will take place May 26 at 4:25 p.m. Eastern U.S. as part of the 182nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

Thomsen and colleagues reviewed published sound levels from operational wind farms to identify trends with turbine size. In general, the larger the turbine, the higher the noise emissions.

However, newer wind farms using quieter driving technology can to a certain extent cancel out the impact of larger turbines. Older gear box technology reaches disruptive levels for marine mammals up to 6.3 kilometers away. In contrast, newer direct drive turbines are expected to only impact animal behavior within a 1.4-kilometer radius.

“It is very unlikely that operational noise will lead to any injury or even hearing impairment, but behavioral changes could be a concern, as our study shows,” Thomsen said. “It’s possible that impact zones of individual turbines overlap, but that still does not mean that the wind farm is a no-go area for marine life. We see harbor porpoises frequently swimming in the vicinity of turbines.”

The long-term consequences of this noise on wildlife are still largely unknown. The impact could depend on the number of turbines and their overlapping affected areas.

In theory, the sound can lead to behavior changes in marine mammals and mask calls from whales, but harbor porpoises are frequently seen swimming in the vicinity of wind farms in Europe, so it may not be as simple as it seems.

“Since offshore wind farms have a relatively long lifespan, and there will be many of them, the potential impacts should not be overlooked,” said Thomsen. “The point of our work is to raise awareness.”

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
USEFUL LINKS
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eventpilotadmin.com/web/planner.php?id=ASASPRING22
Press Room: https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

WORLDWIDE PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Worldwide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay language papers, which are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org. For urgent requests, staff at media@aip.org can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world’s leading journal on acoustics), JASA Express Letters, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. See https://acousticalsociety.org/.

Past Press Releases

Explosions Help Probe Elusive Atmospheric Waves

Infrasound pulses from munitions plant explosions used to study gravity waves, atmospheric eventsMedia Contact: Larry Frum AIP Media 301-209-3090 media@aip.org DENVER, May 25, 2022 – Infrasound waves can probe some of the most complex weather patterns hidden to normal...

Snap, Crackle, Pop: Healthy Coral Reefs Brimming with Noise

Monitoring their soundscape can provide a long term, nonintrusive, inexpensive method for tracking the state of reefs around the worldMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 25, 2022 – A healthy coral reef is loud. Like a busy city, the...

Turning Hearing Aids into Noise-Canceling Devices

Assistive listening devices can filter out noise from loudspeakers, improving clarityMedia Contact: Larry Frum AIP Media 301-209-3090 media@aip.org DENVER, May 25, 2022 – People with hearing aids and other assistive listening devices often struggle at crowded events,...

On Mars, NASA’s Perseverance Rover’s Playlist Like No Other

Microphones on the rover capture, characterize sounds from red planet's atmosphereMedia Contact: Larry Frum AIP Media 301-209-3090 media@aip.org DENVER, May 25, 2022 – Since NASA's Perseverance rover landed on Mars, its two microphones have recorded hours of audio...

Going Virtual Hurts Student Career Prospects

Students less likely to engage with virtual networking events, increasing turnover, burnoutMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – As in-person scientific meetings and gathering have been replaced by virtual meetings during...

Ultrasound-Assisted Laser Technique Vaporizes Artery Plaque

Method avoids complications from using high-power lasers, extends to other medical applicationsMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – Atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque, can lead to heart disease, artery disease, and...

Listening Can Be Exhausting for Older Cochlear Implant Users

Aging effects on listening effort in cochlear-implant usersMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – Degraded acoustic signals can make hearing difficult for anyone, but differences in cognitive abilities, age-related changes,...

Diverse Social Networks Reduce Accent Judgments

Perception in context: How racialized identities impact speech perceptionMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – Everyone has an accent. But the intelligibility of speech doesn't just depend on that accent; it also depends on...

Sidekick Microbubbles Carry Anti-Cancer Drugs, Damage Tumor Vessels

Ultrasound-stimulated, drug-loaded bubbles for cancer therapyMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – Microbubbles can assist with localized drug delivery in a patient's body by popping at a target site to create enhanced...

Acoustic Sensors Pinpoint Shooters in Urban Setting

Modeling and optimizing sensor networks for a specific environment will help missions narrow in on shooter locationsMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 23, 2022 – During a gunshot, two sound events occur: the muzzle blast and the...

Share This