Human activity is a major source of high-frequency seismic noise. Long-term ambient seismic noise levels and their influencing factors are investigated. The diurnal seismic noise level in 5-15 Hz display high correlation with human activities including traffic and industrial operations that are related to economic conditions. The temporal noiselevel variations are consistent among three components. Analysis with seismic noises in three consecutive months of each year enables us to estimate the noise levels without seasonal effects. The daytime seismic noise-level changes in major cities of 11 countries are assessed using the 3 month records for decades. The annual seismic noise levels present strong correlations with gross domestic product (GDP), particularly with manufacturing and industrial GDP. The seismic noise levels increase quickly with GDP in low- GDP regions but slowly in high-GDP regions. This is because high-GDP regions already have large volumes of existing noise-inducing sources and because added sources contribute weakly. The seismic noise levels increased by 14%-111% for 5-23 yr depending on the economic conditions. The correlation between ambient seismic noise level and economy growth is a global feature. The high-frequency noise level may be a proxy to present the economic condition. Economic growth affects the Earth environment in a wide range of aspects.
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The authors are grateful to Taeyoon Sung of Yonsei University and Jae Chun Choe of Ewha Woman’s University for valuable comments on economic indices and animals’ responses to ambient noises. The authors thank anonymous reviewers and editor for fruitful comments on the article. This work was supported by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant Number KMI2018-02910. In addition, this research was partly supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), which is funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2017R1A6A1A07015374, NRF-2018R1D1A1A09083446).
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