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MMO publishes underwater sound mapping project reports

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unnamed (77)Modelled Mapping of Continuous Underwater Noise Generated by Activities

The reports associated with a recent MMO study that explored the quantification and mapping of underwater noise have been published.

The research, undertaken by ABPmer, developed an innovative geographic information system (GIS) tool to generate data that could be used to map the distribution of man-made continuous underwater noise in the south marine plan areas.

Based on a simple sound transmission model, the tool takes appropriate plan-scale data (such as AIS), applies noise source levels and then propagates the noise into the surrounding environment to create sound maps.

Elena San Martin, Project Manager at ABPmer said: “We are delighted to have undertaken this study for the MMO.  We consider it a first step in addressing the recognised gap in the availability of consistent, plan-scale indicative map(s) of man-made underwater noise distribution.

“Future work will focus on improving output data confidence such as breaking down the activity categories.  Some are all encompassing and therefore the related sound pressure level values are very wide suggesting greater noise transmission than reality.

“However, though the outputs are indicative they allow some interim consideration of underwater noise in marine planning, until a better understanding of the relationship between activities, noise and the environment is available.”

The report was published on 28 August 2015 and can be accessed from:


ABPmer is a recognised thought leader in marine planning and has undertaken many leading-edge studies in support to its implementation in the UK.

ABPmer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated British Ports Holdings Limited.

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