How Are Acoustics Measured at the Block Island Wind Farm? Is the Same Process Used at Offshore Wind Farms in Europe?

This question was supplied by the ‘Ask the Experts’ database managers.

Reviewed by: Dr. James Miller

Last Update: July 29th, 2020

The Ask the Experts database managers conducted an interview with Dr. James Miller (Department of Ocean Engineering & Graduate School of Oceanography) to summarize the findings of multiple URI studies that have set out to monitor and minimize the effects that the construction of the Block Island Wind Farm has had on marine mammals.

Dr. Miller explains that, because Europeans have been working with offshore wind for approximately 20 years prior to the United States, researchers working on U.S. projects have learned a lot from their experiences. Miller and his colleagues read European research about methodology for measuring sound that results from both the construction and operation of offshore wind farms. This shared knowledge has helped the U.S. move forward with offshore wind construction though they arrived “late to the game”.

Acoustic engineers began using standard acoustic monitoring equipment in 2015 to measure the sounds generated at the Block Island Wind Farm. Researchers utilized hydrophones and geophones which were submerged in waters nearby the wind farm to measure the shaking of the seabed. These tools are essentially underwater microphones that record the data which can later be interpreted by scientists. Miller stated that this process would also soon be done at the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm. 

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