Ocean Noise Tools | Ocean Noise Strategy

Ocean Noise Tools


The Ocean Noise Strategy supports NOAA’s development of decision support tools for assessment, planning and mitigation of noise-making activities over ecologically-relevant scales.

NOAA Noise Reference StationsNOAA Noise Reference Station Thumbnail

Since 2014, this unique network of hydrophones has been collecting continuous, comparable long-term acoustic data sets covering all major regions of the U.S. in order to monitor long-term changes and trends in the underwater ambient sound field. Recordings from this network serve as a cornerstone dataset in the establishment of the passive acoustic data archive described below. Information from the network is supporting national comparison of noise status and trends [Haver et al., 2018; Haver et al., 2019; Haver et al., 2020]

SanctSoundFish surrounding a hydrophone

Since 2018, NOAA and the U.S. Navy have been working to better understand underwater sound within US National Marine Sanctuaries. All recording data and standardized measurements derived from these recordings will be available to the public to explore via an interactive web portal at project’s end in spring 2022. Until then, web stories from the project are a good way to keep up with the way this project is informing understanding and management of underwater noise in National Marine Sanctuaries.

Passive Acoustic Data ArchivePAM Data Archive Map Viewer

Passive acoustic data are used broadly across NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Ocean Service (NOS), and Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) line offices for a wide range of activities central to NOAA’s mission including marine mammal stock assessments, monitoring of earthquake and geological activity, and assessing impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine life.  The National Centers for Environmental Information and NOAA line offices have collaborated to create a publicly accessible archive for passive acoustic data from a number of sources throughout government and academia.

Passive Acoustic Cetacean MapPassive Acoustic Cetacean Map

This interactive mapping tool presents passive acoustic detections of North Atlantic right, sei, fin, blue and humpback whales as well as all beaked whales, sperm whales, and kogia from 2004 to current. 


Marine Mammal Data AvailabilityHumpback Whales

Current marine mammal density, distribution, and occurrence data are provided by regions of the US Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). A newly available interactive geospatial tool allows for the quantitative integration, analysis, and depiction of specific marine mammal density datasets available for both the U.S. East Coast/Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. West Coast.

Biologically Important AreasBiologically Important Areas

Biologically Important Areas (BIAs) are areas and time periods in which cetacean populations are known to concentrate for breeding, feeding, and migration, and areas within which small and resident populations occupy a limited geographic extent. BIAs represent compilations of the best available science and have been used by NOAA, other federal agencies, and the public to support planning and marine mammal impact assessments, and to inform the development of conservation measures for cetaceans.

Interactive GIS Tool for MMPA Incidental Take AuthorizationsGIS Mapping Tool

This interactive mapping tool provides access to point data to visualize the general location, type, and status of Marine Mammal Protection Act incidental take authorizations. Additional layers to assist in understanding the context of the projects are provided.

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