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Technical Resources

SATURN Acoustical Terminology Standard

The following SATURN Technical Report document is produced by Work Package 2 (WP2) ‘Standardisation'. As part of the SATURN project, WP2 aims to:

  • Develop and validate standardised methods to cost-effectively measure underwater radiated noise (URN), and

  • Facilitate the assessment of impacts from underwater noise generated by shipping and boats.

These aims are achieved by harmonising terminology, metrics, and methodology for measurements and modelling, including particle motion.

The purpose of this terminology standard is to facilitate effective communication, especially inter-disciplinary communication, between physicists, biologists, and end users. Its scope is acoustical and bioacoustical terminology related to URN and the effects of vessel URN on aquatic life.

There is a need to distinguish between the properties of a sound field and those of a sound source that might contribute to the sound field. Properties of the sound field include sound pressure and sound exposure. Properties of the source include source level and sound power.

There is also a need to distinguish between ‘sound’ and ‘noise’. ‘Noise’ can mean unwanted or undesirable sound, and it can also refer to non-acoustic noise such as electrical or flow noise. When referring to underwater sound, the term ‘sound’ is preferred unless there is a special reason to use ‘noise’, for example when referring to the denominator in a signal-to-noise ratio, in the context of adverse effects of sound on aquatic life, or for a term of the trade such as ‘radiated noise level’ or ‘underwater radiated noise’.

This SATUN Acoustical Terminology Standard (D2.3) builds on and is compatible with ISO 18405:2017, and considers five general categories of terms:

  1. General terminology

  2. Quantities expressed in decibels

  3. Bioacoustical terminology

  4. Vessel acoustics terminology, and

  5. Sound mapping terminology.

Download your copy of the report here:

SATURN Acoustical Terminology Standard V2.0 - D2.3
Download PDF • 1.61MB

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