Monitoring and mitigating underwater sound is critical for the design, implementation, and permitting of ocean-based development projects such as marine renewable energy (MRE) arrays and other MRE projects. Yet, the characteristics of underwater noise generated by a range of activities are largely unexplored and poorly characterized, and tools for gathering data in a cost-effective and robust manner are limited.
We are developing and applying a state-of-the-art sensor array that measures sound and locates sound sources in near real time together with Sandia National Laboratories, Noise Control Engineering, and Proteus Technologies. The array, called the “NoiseSpotter,” is intended to provide data to support environmental impact assessment of noise effects from MRE installations.
Applications of the NoiseSpotter in estuarine and coastal environments have demonstrated that the sensor array is well-suited to geolocating acoustic sources and characterizing the sounds. The NoiseSpotter is a uniquely powerful and cost-effective tool for regulators, stakeholders, and developers seeking to gather the data necessary to alleviate risk from underwater noise associated with MRE devices.