National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

Just How Loud Is It Out There?

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: