Mapping cumulative noise from shipping to inform marine spatial planning
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Including ocean noise in marine spatial planning requires predictions of noise levels on large spatiotemporal scales. Based on a simple sound transmission model and ship track data (Automatic Identification System, AIS), cumulative underwater acoustic energy from shipping was mapped throughout 2008 in the west Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone, showing high noise levels in critical habitats for endangered resident killer whales, exceeding limits of “good conservation status” under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Error analysis proved that rough calculations of noise occurrence and propagation can form a basis for management processes, because spending resources on unnecessary detail is wasteful and delays remedial action.
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