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Tracking major storms from microseismic and hydroacoustic observations on the seafloor

Abstract : Ocean wave activity excites seismic waves that propagate through the solid earth, known as microseismic noise. Here we use a network of 57 ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) deployed around La Réunion Island in the southwest Indian Ocean to investigate the noise generated in the secondary microseismic band as a tropical cyclone moved over the network. Spectral and polarization analyses show that microseisms strongly increase in the 0.1–0.35 Hz frequency band as the cyclone approaches and that this noise is composed of both compressional and surface waves, confirming theoretical predictions. We infer the location of maximum noise amplitude in space and time and show that it roughly coincides with the location of maximum ocean wave interactions. Although this analysis was retrospectively performed, microseisms recorded on the seafloor can be considered a novel source of information for future real-time tracking and monitoring of major storms, complementing atmospheric, oceanographic, and satellite observations.
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Céline Davy, Guilhem Barruol, Fabrice R. R. Fontaine, Karin Sigloch, Eléonore Stutzmann. Tracking major storms from microseismic and hydroacoustic observations on the seafloor. Geophysical Research Letters, 2014, ⟨10.1002/2014GL062319⟩. ⟨hal-01236164⟩



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