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Chris Bassett

Senior Mechanical Engineer





Department Affiliation

Ocean Engineering


B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 2007

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, 2010

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, 2013


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Flow-noise and turbulence in two tidal channels

Bassett, C., J. Thomson, P. H. Dahl, and B. Polagye, "Flow-noise and turbulence in two tidal channels," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 135(4), 1764-1774, doi:10.1121/1.4867360, 2014.

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13 May 2014

Flow-noise resulting from oceanic turbulence and interactions with pressure-sensitive transducers can interfere with ambient noise measurements. This noise source is particularly important in low-frequency measurements (f < 100 Hz) and in highly turbulent environments such as tidal channels. This work presents measurements made in the Chacao Channel, Chile, and in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, WA. In both environments, peak currents exceed 3 m/s and pressure spectral densities attributed to flow-noise are observed at frequencies up to 500 Hz. At 20 Hz, flow-noise exceeds mean slack noise levels by more than 50 dB. Two semi-empirical flow-noise models are developed and applied to predict flow-noise at frequencies from 20 to 500 Hz using measurements of current velocity and turbulence. The first model directly applies mean velocity and turbulence spectra while the second model relies on scaling arguments that relate turbulent dissipation to the mean velocity. Both models, based on prior formulations for infrasonic (f < 20 Hz) flow-noise, agree well with observations in Chacao Channel. In Admiralty Inlet, good agreement is shown only with the model that applies mean velocity and turbulence spectra, as the measured turbulence violates the scaling assumption in the second model.

Sediment-generated noise and bed stress in a tidal channel

Bassett, C., J. Thomson, and B. Polagye, "Sediment-generated noise and bed stress in a tidal channel," J. Geophys. Res., 118, 2249-2265, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20169, 2013.

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30 Apr 2013

Tidally driven currents and bed stresses can result in noise generated by moving sediments. At a site in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, Washington State (USA), peak bed stresses exceed 20 Pa. Significant increases in noise levels are attributed to mobilized sediments at frequencies from 4–30 kHz with more modest increases noted from 1–4 kHz. Sediment-generated noise during strong currents masks background noise from other sources, including vessel traffic. Inversions of the acoustic spectra for equivalent grain sizes are consistent with qualitative data of the seabed composition. Bed stress calculations using log layer, Reynolds stress, and inertial dissipation techniques generally agree well and are used to estimate the shear stresses at which noise levels increase for different grain sizes. Regressions of the acoustic intensity versus near-bed hydrodynamic power demonstrate that noise levels are highly predictable above a critical threshold despite the scatter introduced by the localized nature of mobilization events.

A vessel noise budget for Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, Washington (USA)

Bassett, C., B. Polagye, M. Holt, and J. Thomson, "A vessel noise budget for Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, Washington (USA)," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 132, 3706-3719, doi:10.1121/1.4763548, 2012.

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1 Dec 2012

One calendar year of Automatic Identification System (AIS) ship-traffic data was paired with hydrophone recordings to assess ambient noise in northern Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, WA (USA) and to quantify the contribution of vessel traffic. The study region included inland waters of the Salish Sea within a 20 km radius of the hydrophone deployment site. Spectra and hourly, daily, and monthly ambient noise statistics for unweighted broadband (0.02–30 kHz) and marine mammal, or M-weighted, sound pressure levels showed variability driven largely by vessel traffic. Over the calendar year, 1363 unique AIS transmitting vessels were recorded, with at least one AIS transmitting vessel present in the study area 90% of the time. A vessel noise budget was calculated for all vessels equipped with AIS transponders. Cargo ships were the largest contributor to the vessel noise budget, followed by tugs and passenger vessels. A simple model to predict received levels at the site based on an incoherent summation of noise from different vessels resulted in a cumulative probability density function of broadband sound pressure levels that shows good agreement with 85% of the temporal data.

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center