With animal vocal communication, underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions, and more, the oceans have never been a silent place. Humans have been adding their own noise to the soundscape for some time, but over the last century that noise has increased substantially. Shipping routes now cross the globe - including the Arctic which was, up until recently, largely inaccessible due ice. Military exercises as well as scientific and extractive resource exploration makes use of sonar and seismic airguns. Construction of in-water infrastructure as well as maintenance is also a noisy affair. Sound, especially low frequency sounds (1000 hertz and under), travel well in the ocean. Noise can be heard for hundred, even thousands of kilometres away from the source.
The full article was published in – and can be read in – The Marine Professional, a publication of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST).
Image: Marine animals like these orca (also known as killer whales) rely on sound in their everyday lives. Credit Christopher Michel/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)