Man-Made Noise Underwater

A wide range of sources of information have been addressed in an attempt to find recent information on sources of man-made noise; the subject of the search has however specifically been limited to:

  • Information that has become available since 1995 (prior to which Richardson provides a good summary of available information).
  • Non-seismic noise.

The information on man-made underwater noise may be divided into 5 categories:

  1. Shipping noise
  2. Pile driving and construction noise
  3. Sonar and related research equipment
  4. Underwater explosives and blasting
  5. Offshore oil exploration and production

The main findings are summarised in the table below.

Summary of Main Findings

Source Description Level (dB re 1µPa) Reference
Small drill 147 Nedwell J, Martin A, Mansfield N (1993)
Large drill 143 Nedwell J, Martin A, Mansfield N (1993)
Impact wrench 180 Nedwell J, Martin A, Mansfield N (1993)
Small grinder 150 Nedwell J, Martin A, Mansfield N (1993)
Large grinder 146 Nedwell J, Martin A, Mansfield N (1993)
Cox's bolt gun 220 (peak) Nedwell J, Parvin S (1999)
Pile driving 218 (peak) Wursig B, Evans P (1998)
Supertankers and container ships 180 - 190 Richardson W, Greene C, Malme C, Thomson D (1995)
Bulk cargo ship 178 - 192 Arveson P, Vendittis D (2000)
Commercial and military sonar systems 180 - 230 Richardson W, Greene C, Malme C, Thomson D (1995)
ATOC programme source 195 Mercer J, Howe B, Dunshaw B, Dziechiuch M, Munk W, Birdsall T, Metzger K (1996)
1 kg TNT charge, unconfined 274 Barett R W (1996)
Borehole blasting, 3.5 kg charges 238 Nedwell J R, Thandavamoorthy T S (1989)
Bolt Gun 194 Needham K, Nedwell J R (1999)
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