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Passive Acoustic Data

Passive acoustic monitoring is a powerful observational tool that NOAA uses to detect and characterize sounds produced by fish and marine mammals, ambient noise from physical oceanographic processes, and anthropogenic noise sources that contribute to the overall ocean noise environment. NCEI established an archive for passive acoustic data to support the stewardship of these valuable data collected by NOAA line offices and partners. The archive staff developed PassivePacker, a data packaging tool to facilitate passive acoustic data submissions to the archive. 

Humpback Whale

Credit: National Marine Sanctuaries

Access Methods

Contact to download the full database or for additional questions.

Passive Acoustic Data Map

Use the Passive Acoustic Data Map to search, discover, and request archived data. 

Launch Interactive Map

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Access data from a Google Cloud Platform Bucket.

Access Data

Sanctuary Soundscape Monitoring Project (SanctSound) Portal

Learn about and explore data products from SanctSound.

Launch Portal

Data Citation

Individual Datasets

Each dataset has a unique citation, which is provided within each project's ReadMe file in the archive’s GCP bucket.

Complete Archive

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. 2017. Passive Acoustic Data Collection. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. [Access date]. 

Data Submission

To submit data to the archive, contact Data submitted to the archive are “packaged” using PassivePacker, a data packaging and metadata gathering software tool. This archive accepts data from stationary marine, mobile marine, and terrestrial platforms.


NOAA, academia, industry, and the international community use passive acoustic data to inform scientific research and management needs, such as monitoring and protecting marine mammal populations, monitoring geological activity, and assessing impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine life. The archive currently hosts free, globally-accessible, raw audio files and data products.

NCEI Passive Acoustic Data archive staff supported the NOAA-Navy Sanctuary Soundscape Monitoring Project (SanctSound) through stewarding its hundreds of raw audio files and data products as well as the development of the project’s new educational and interactive portal.

Contact Us 

Additional Resources

Passive Acoustic Sources

There are three main sources of sound in the ocean: physical (green), biological (blue), and human-made (orange).Credit: NOAA NEFSC Passive Acoustic Research Group
Passive Acoustic Capture Instruments

Caption: A wide range of technology is used to record underwater sound. Credit: NOAA NEFSC Passive Acoustic Research Group


NCEI established the Passive Acoustic Data archive in partnership with NOAA Fisheries and the University of Colorado. NCEI, NOAA Fisheries, National Ocean Service (NOS) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the U.S. Navy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the National Park Service, and academia collaborate to grow this archive.