Mapping past and future shipping noise in European seas



URN, shipping, modelling, ocean sound, forecasting


Against the backdrop of a steadily increasing demand for sea transport of goods and people, the development of a reliable marine shipping soundscape model is an essential planning requirement to assess the effect on ocean noise of operational and technological changes aimed at mitigating the environmental impact of the shipping sector. The NAVISON (Navis Sonus) project, conducted with the support of the European Maritime Safety Agency, employs a specially developed parametric vessel source model with the objective of producing shipping sound maps in European seas for past, present, and potential future conditions over a time span from 2016 to 2050. The source model is combined with historical ship tracking data from the automated identification system (AIS), or projected shipping densities and mitigation scenarios, to calculate spatial ship noise emissions data for input to a sound mapping tool. The mapping tool computes underwater sound propagation using the parabolic-equation method, drawing upon ocean scale databases of bathymetric, oceanographic, and sediment properties. Project outputs are provided as map layers of sound pressure level and sound energy according to vessel type, season, region, year, and operational conditions; from these layers, maps can be generated for user-specified combinations of mitigation measures. Maps are presented in two frequency bands (centred at 63 Hz and 125 Hz) selected for assessing Good Environmental Status in the context of the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.



How to Cite

Racca R, Ainslie M, Bosschers J, Hermans M, Lloyd T, MacGillivray A, Pace F, Schuster M, Sertlek Özkan, Wood M. Mapping past and future shipping noise in European seas. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2024 May 12 [cited 2024 May 21];52(1). Available from: