Ocean Decade Research Programme on the Maritime Acoustic Environment


Quantifying gases in the ocean using acoustics

  • National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) – New Zealand
  • Lead Contact: Sally Watson (sally.watson@niwa.co.nz)
  • 10/01/2019 – 30/03/2023

This project will develop a cost-effective methodology to detect and quantify gas bubbles seeping from the seafloor using broadband acoustic technology.

This methodology will be the first of its kind and will allow us to characterise the composition of gas released from the seafloor, and reliably quantify flux rates. This will transform environmental management, pollution control, and seafloor resource assessment in our ocean.

We will design a prototype of low frequency broadband systems, which does not exist on the market today, and develop numerical models of the behaviour of bubbles in the water. This will significantly enhance estimations of total fluxes of climate-warming gases like methane and carbon dioxide in our ocean, creating data that can be used in models to understand the impact of seafloor gas discharge on our coupled ocean-atmosphere system. Our work will enhance monitoring and prediction of the extent and impacts of gas exchange, now and under future climate scenarios.