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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 612512, 18 pages
Research Article

Underwater Acoustic Measurements to Estimate Wind and Rainfall in the Mediterranean Sea

1National Research Council of Italy, Via de Marini 6, 16149 Genoa, Italy
2Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 1013 NE 40th Street, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
3Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, 261 Glenbrook Road, Unit 3037, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
4National Observatory of Athens, P.O. Box 20048, Thissio, 11810 Athens, Greece
5Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale Piemonte, Via Pio VII 9, 10135 Turin, Italy

Received 1 December 2014; Accepted 10 March 2015

Academic Editor: Hiroyuki Hashiguchi

Copyright © 2015 Sara Pensieri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oceanic ambient noise measurements can be analyzed to obtain qualitative and quantitative information about wind and rainfall phenomena over the ocean filling the existing gap of reliable meteorological observations at sea. The Ligurian Sea Acoustic Experiment was designed to collect long-term synergistic observations from a passive acoustic recorder and surface sensors (i.e., buoy mounted rain gauge and anemometer and weather radar) to support error analysis of rainfall rate and wind speed quantification techniques developed in past studies. The study period included combination of high and low wind and rainfall episodes and two storm events that caused two floods in the vicinity of La Spezia and in the city of Genoa in 2011. The availability of high resolution in situ meteorological data allows improving data processing technique to detect and especially to provide effective estimates of wind and rainfall at sea. Results show a very good correspondence between estimates provided by passive acoustic recorder algorithm and in situ observations for both rainfall and wind phenomena and demonstrate the potential of using measurements provided by passive acoustic instruments in open sea for early warning of approaching coastal storms, which for the Mediterranean coastal areas constitutes one of the main causes of recurrent floods.