Characteristics and spatial variability of wind noise on near-surface broadband seismometers

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
By: , and 



By coupling with the ground, wind causes ground motion that appears on seismic records as noise across a wide bandwidth. This wind-generated noise can drown out important features such as small earthquakes and prevent observation of normal modes from large earthquakes. Because the wind field is heterogeneous at local scales due to structures, diurnal heating, and topography, wind-induced seismic noise may be different on seismometers installed just meters apart. We have investigated the spatial variability of wind-induced noise using two weather sensors separated by approximately ~100 m and co-located with one deep borehole and four near-surface broadband seismometers. We found that at longer periods (>5 s), increasing wind speed causes increases in noise on the horizontal components of seismometers. While this has been previously observed, we also measured a γ2-coherence of less than 0.2 between the wind speed, wind direction, and the pressure recorded by our weather stations. We further observed a loss of coherence between the vertical components of our seismometers from 8 s to 20 s period. The amplitude of the drop-in coherence appears to depend on the substrate surrounding the seismometer. Based on two previously-developed theoretical models, we found that the local material surrounding the sensor could be amplifying the wind-generated noise. We also investigated the frequency dependence of wind-induced noise and found that the dominant source of high-frequency seismic noise at some sites could be anthropogenic rather than induced by wind. Additionally, we estimated the linear relationship between the root mean squares (RMS) of wind speed and RMS seismic velocity for all sensors, finding substantial variability between different installments. A more detailed understanding of the complex processes by which wind-induced noise is generated can inform the installation of sensors and the development of methods for mitigation of these effects, thus improving the overall quality of seismic data.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Characteristics and spatial variability of wind noise on near-surface broadband seismometers
Series title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI 10.1785/0120180227
Volume 109
Issue 3
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 1082
Last page 1098
Country United States
State New Mexico
City Alburquerque
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