Noise transfer in variable-depth streamer deghosting

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Single-component towed-streamer marine data acquisition records the pressure variations of the upgoing compressional waves followed by the polarity-reversed pressure variations of downgoing waves, creating sea-surface ghost events in the data. The sea-surface ghost for constant-depth towed-streamer marine data acquisition is usually characterised by a ghost operator acting on the upgoing waves, which can be formulated as a filtering process in the frequency–wavenumber domain. The deghosting operation, usually via the application of the inverse Wiener filter related to the ghost operator, acts on the signal as well as the noise. The noise power transfer into the deghosted data is proportional to the power spectrum of the inverse Wiener filter and is amplifying the noise strongly at the notch wavenumbers and frequencies of the ghost operator. For variable-depth streamer acquisition, the sea-surface ghost cannot be described any longer as a wavenumber–frequency operator but as a linear relationship between the wavenumber–frequency representation of the upgoing waves at the sea surface and the data in the space–frequency domain. In this article, we investigate how the application of the inverse process acts on noise. It turns out that the noise magnification is less severe with variable-depth streamer data, as opposed to constant depth, and is inversely proportional to the local slant of the streamer. We support this statement via application of the deghosting process to real and numerical random noise. We also propose a more general concept of a wavenumber–frequency ghost power transfer function, applicable for variable-depth streamer acquisition, and demonstrate that the inverse of the proposed variable-depth ghost power transfer function can be used to approximately quantify the action of the variable-depth streamer deghosting process on noise.

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