Volume 93 (2017) Issue 7 Pages 423-448
The ambient seismic wave field, also known as ambient noise, is excited by oceanic gravity waves primarily. This can be categorized as seismic hum (1–20 mHz), primary microseisms (0.02–0.1 Hz), and secondary microseisms (0.1–1 Hz). Below 20 mHz, pressure fluctuations of ocean infragravity waves reach the abyssal floor. Topographic coupling between seismic waves and ocean infragravity waves at the abyssal floor can explain the observed shear traction sources. Below 5 mHz, atmospheric disturbances may also contribute to this excitation. Excitation of primary microseisms can be attributed to topographic coupling between ocean swell and seismic waves on subtle undulation of continental shelves. Excitation of secondary microseisms can be attributed to non-linear forcing by standing ocean swell at the sea surface in both pelagic and coastal regions. Recent developments in source location based on body-wave microseisms enable us to estimate forcing quantitatively. For a comprehensive understanding, we must consider the solid Earth, the ocean, and the atmosphere as a coupled system.