Abstract

We present analyses of the noise wave field in the vicinity of Virgo, the Italian–French gravitational wave observatory located close to Pisa, Italy, with special reference to the vibrations induced by a nearby wind farm. The spectral contribution of the wind turbines is investigated using (1) onsite measurements, (2) correlation of spectral amplitudes with wind speed, (3) directional properties determined via multichannel measurements, and (4) attenuation of signal amplitude with distance. Among the different spectral peaks thus discriminated, the one at frequency 1.7 Hz is associated with the greatest power, and under particular conditions it can be observed at distances as large as 11 km from the wind farm. The spatial decay of amplitudes exhibits a complicated pattern, which we interpret in terms of the combination of direct surface waves and body waves refracted at a deep (≈800 m) interface between the Plio-Pleistocenic marine, fluvial, and lacustrine sediments and the Miocene carbonate basement. We develop a model for wave attenuation that allows determining the amplitude of the radiation from individual turbines, which is estimated on the order of forumla for wind speeds over the 8–14 m/s range. On the basis of this model, we then develop a predictive relationship for assessing the possible impact of future wind farm projects.

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