National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

What's New Archive

October 16, 2015

The locations of 11 Ocean Noise Reference Stations are depicted above and range from as far north as the Arctic coast of Alaska to American Samoa in the South Pacific.  

October 16, 2015

Monitoring baseline ocean noise is critically important to understand both natural and anthropogenic changes in the marine ambient sound environment. As of this week, a network of 11 ocean noise reference stations has been established in U.S. waters to measure changes and trends in natural and man-made ocean noise.  Natural sounds ranging from whale calls and volcanoes to anthropogenic sounds from shipping and oil/gas exploration are recorded by the moored, underwater hydrophones developed by PMEL engineers and scientists and deployed in collaboration with NMFS-OST, all the Fisheries Science Centers, NOS Marine Sanctuaries, and the National Park Service. The establishment of a long-term record provides fundamental data needed to understand how increased noise in the ocean may affect marine life and ocean health.

For more information on this collaborative project, see NOAA/PMEL AcousticsNOAA/PMEL Ocean Noise Reference Station Network, and the NOAA/NMFS-OST feature story.

PMEL Project: 

April 09, 2015

Eruption of Hades vent, West Mata seamount, taken by Jason remotely operated vehicle in 2009.

April 09, 2015

A 30-year history of the NOAA Vents program was published in Oceanography.  In 1983, a small team of NOAA PMEL scientists, subsequently joined by colleagues at Oregon State University (CIMRS) and the University of Washington (JISAO), exploited new seafloor and water column mapping technologies to understand the impact of hydrothermal systems on ocean chemistry and seafloor ecosystems.  The first decade featured fundamental discoveries about physical, biological, chemical, and oceanographic consequences of deep submarine eruptions.  Partnering with international researchers, Vents made the first ever time-series studies of active submarine eruptions. Vents research set global standards for an observation-driven understanding of the transfer of heat, chemicals, and organisms from Earth’s hot interior into the ocean.

In 2013, the Vents Program was restructured into two new programs, Earth-Ocean Interactions and Acoustics, continuing the Vents legacy while focusing directly on NOAA strategic goals in ocean processes and ecosystems.


January 26, 2015
January 26, 2015

The Submarine Ring of Fire ’14 cruise is completed and PMEL scientists are back in the lab analyzing the data.  While underway, 19 short videos were created by Saskia Madlener with music by Charlie Brooks.  Take a look at the videos to get a sense of what life on the ship was like and how the scientists dealt with successes and challenges at sea.   Despite problematic weather, the scientists were able to get biological, chemical, geological and acoustic data over the duration of the cruise, using hydrographic instruments and the remotely operated vehicle Jason.

For the complete story, visit the Ocean Explorer website and see all the videos on YouTube.  

May 22, 2014
June 19, 2012

Recently published papers on Axial Seamount in the journal Nature Geoscience present, for the first time, precursory signals recorded by seafloor instruments before an undersea volcanic eruption.  NOAA and Oregon State University scientists Dr. Bill Chadwick and Dr. Bob Dziak suggest that such signals could be used to issue both long-term and short-term forecasts of future eruptions at the site.

For more information please visit the NOAA Vents Program website.


April 24, 2014
June 20, 2013

A newly released report at Oceanography details the work of scientists and engineers with PMEL’s Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS) to analyze the sound of iceberg A52 breaking apart in the Southern Ocean using underwater hydrophones. The authors concluded that sounds measured are significantly greater than anthropogenic noises and should therefore be considered as a major contributor to the overall ocean noise budget.

For more information on PMEL’s Acoustic program please visit their website.

PMEL Project: 

February 24, 2012

The NOAA Vents Program is proud to be a large part of a recently published special issue of Oceanography and supplement that focuses on over 20 years of research on mid ocean spreading centers and underwater volcanic activity.  The RIDGE and Ridge 2000 programs are summarized in the special issue and features articles from many PMEL scientists including our University of Washington and Oregon State University partners.

For more information on ongoing research in the NOAA Vents Program please visit their website.

April 04, 2011

Using data from two hydrophones, Dr. Bob Dziak and his acoustics team at PMEL and Oregon State University captured the sounds of the March 11 Mw 9.0 earthquake that shook Japan and sent a tsunami wave across the Pacific Ocean.  The hydrophones recorded the seismic and acoustic arrivals of the earthquake, known as P- and T-waves respectively.

To listen and learn more about P- and T-waves, please visit the Vents Acoustic Program web page.

PMEL Project: 
September 29, 2009

The NOAA Vents program at PMEL celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, marking a quarter century of research, discoveries, and technological innovations in some of the oceans most interesting depths.

To learn more about these discoveries and current research, please visit the Vents Program web site.