The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (2011)

DOI: 10.1121/1.3626123


In December 2005 construction work was started to replace a harbor wall in Kerteminde harbor, Denmark. A total of 175 wooden piles were piled into the ground at the waters edge over a period of 3 months. During the same period three harbor porpoises were housed in a marine mammal facility on the opposite side of the harbor. All animals showed strong avoidance reactions after the start of the piling activities. As a measure to reduce the sound exposure for the animals an air bubble curtain was constructed and operated in a direct path between the piling site and the opening of the animals’ semi-natural pool. The sound attenuation effect achieved with this system was determined by quantitative comparison of pile driving impulses simultaneously measured in front of and behind the active air bubble curtain. Mean levels of sound attenuation over a sequence of 95 consecutive pile strikes were 14 dB (standard deviation (s.d.) 3.4 dB) for peak to peak values and 13 dB (s.d. 2.5 dB) for SEL values. As soon as the air bubble curtain was installed and operated, no further avoidance reactions of the animals to the piling activities were apparent.