Ambient Noise in the Kitimat Fjord System

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Sound is an important medium for communication and marine organisms have evolved to capitalize on the efficiency with which sound energy travels through water. Anthropogenic and natural sound sources contribute to ocean ambient noise, which can interfere with the use of this sensory modality by marine animals. Anthropogenic noise sources have been increasing steadily over recent decades largely due to coastal population growth, increased global transportation, and offshore industrialization. Understanding the potential impacts of anthropogenic noise requires the establishment of ambient acoustic baselines from which to measure change. Establishing baselines, especially in quiet areas still largely unaffected by anthropogenic stressors, is particularly crucial in the face of the expansion of offshore industries, increasing coastal population and growing reliance on the ocean for global transportation. Global demand for liquid natural gas (LNG), catalyzed primarily by a growing Asian market, is expected to increase significantly in the next 20 years. The geographic position of British Columbia relative to these markets, a growing supply of LNG and new technology for extraction and shipping situate British Columbia as a strong competitor in the lucrative market. The LNG industry could have many adverse impacts on these territories and ecosystems. The Kitimat Fjord System is slated for the development of these LNG export facilities increasing shipping traffic for the port and thus increasing ambient noise in the fjord system. The purpose of this study is to 1) quantify the existing sound levels in the area surrounding Gil Island and 2) identify potential source mechanisms in order to provide a baseline study of the acoustic environment in the Kitimat Fjord system prior to potential increases from LNG shipping.





Heywood, Eleanor I (2016). Ambient Noise in the Kitimat Fjord System. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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