Marine habitats are increasingly at risk from climate change and human activities but they are hard and costly to reach. Underwater acoustics provides a unique solution to map all depths of the oceans, and this talk will present some of the latest applications. Traditional sonars will be illustrated with mapping of geohazards around Europe and the de-risking of Marine Renewable Energies. By using the information provided by the sound scattered in many directions, this “surround sound” can be used to detect and identify toxic buried waste, and by combining high and low frequencies, to create “virtual cores” below the seabed. There are many sounds already available in the oceans, which can be identified and linked to specific processes, like the melting of ice or the impacts of shipping or offshore structures. Others can be used as “sources of opportunity” to provide more information. To compare like with like, this talk will present current efforts in establishing underwater acoustics standards, common reporting and data sharing across scientific communities.
Philippe Blondel is based at the University of Bath. He is Deputy Director and co-founder of the Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Ocean Studies (CSAOS) and a member of British Standards Institution committee EH/1/7 “Underwater acoustics”. He is also co-chair of the International Quiet Ocean Experiment working group on “Arctic Acoustic Environments”. With several decades of experience in the field, across all oceans except the Antarctic, Philippe is interested in the applications of underwater acoustics to topical issues, ranging from seabed mapping to geohazards, marine renewable energies, and the impacts of climate change and human activities underwater.
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