The UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has published a Good Practice Guide for Underwater Noise Measurement, giving guidance on best practice for in-situ measurement of underwater sound, for processing the data, and for reporting the measurements using appropriate metrics.
From a scientific point of view, accurate acoustic measurements are needed for a diverse range of disciplines such as acoustical oceanography, sonar, geophysical exploration, underwater communications, and offshore engineering. However, measurements also have an important and increasing role to play in offshore marine licensing to ensure that good quality, standardised information is included in environmental statements.
At the moment, measured noise levels are sometimes difficult to compare because different measurement methodologies or acoustic metrics are used, and results can take on different meanings for each different application, leading to a risk of misunderstandings between scientists from different disciplines. Although this Good Practice Guide is not intended as a standard, these guidelines address the need for a common approach, and the desire to promote best practice.
The work to prepare this Good Practice Guide was funded by National Measurement Office (an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Marine Scotland (The Scottish Government), and The Crown Estate.
Press release, April 25, 2014; Image: NLP