JOMOPANS: Monitoring underwater sound in the North Sea

In JOMOPANS TNO develops, together with European partners, a framework for an operational monitoring program for underwater sound in the North Sea. With measurements and model the underwater soundscape is mapped. The tools we make in this project help policy makers, marine managers and other stakeholders to better assess where sound in the North Sea might have negative effects on marine life.

Underwater sound

Sound is omnipresent in the underwater environment. Underwater sound can be caused by natural sources such as waves, rain and animals. Also human activities such as shipping and offshore construction works contribute to the sound underwater. Underwater sound may have negative impact on animals in the North Sea that are sensitive to sound, such as seals, harbour porpoises and certain fish species.

International approach

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive obliges EU member states to realise a good environmental status in their waters. This requires among others monitoring and management of underwater sound. Because both human activities such as shipping, but also animal populations cross national borders, an international approach is necessary.


Together with a European consortium led by Rijkswaterstaat, TNO develops a framework for an operational monitoring program for underwater sound in the North Sea. This takes place in the Joint Monitoring Programme for Ambient Noise North Sea (JOMOPANS), subsidized by Interreg NSR. Within JOMOPANS institutes from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway and Sweden are working together.

Sound maps

With a combination of measurements and modelling of sound maps of the underwater sound in the North Sea are constructed. TNO is responsible for producing the sound maps that indicate how much sound is present at a certain location in the North Sea during a certain time, and what the main cause of the sound is (such as shipping or wind).In JOMOPANS also a tool is being developed with which these sound map scan be visualised and translates to indicators for the effect on marine life. This tool can be used by policy makers and other stakeholders to develop and evaluate measures to mitigate the underwater sound.

Want to know more?

Please visit the website of North Sea Region or get in touch with TNO project manager Lianke te Raa.

Acoustics and Sonar

Dr. Lianke te Raa

  • Acoustics and Sonar