Scientists have retrieved surprisingly clear audio recordings that revealed that deep ocean isn’t as quiet as it is imagined to be. The noises recorded, a first in history, were made in and retrieved from Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Marianas Trench, which is near the US territory of Guam.
BBC reveals that this location was supposed to be the quietest part of the ocean, however, the recording included geological rumbles, moans from various kinds of whales, the sound of a typhoon and even man-made noises like ship propellers.
The deep sea exploration, which was conducted by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA), together with academics from Oregon State University, measured the amount of noise pollution in the Pacific Ocean using a hydrophone — a powerful underwater microphone.
Project leader and NOOA oceanographer Robert Dziak says that noise in the ocean has been increasing for some time now, and the growth of the container shipping industry largely contributes to the noise pollution. However, researchers are unable to detect the depth of marine noise pollution until the recording.
Ocean noise pollution
Ocean noise pollution affects marine life and causes a disturbance in marine ecosystem. According toOceanlink , ocean noise was historically low, and underwater animals, like whales which use sonar waves, were able to communicate easily across oceans. However, the increased noise underwater now makes it difficult for these whales to communicate, disabling their natural ability to hunt for food or find a mate. For instance, the Gray Whales are forced to break their natural migration routes because of increased noise pollution.
The rapidly-rising ocean noise pollution comes mainly from technological and industrial growth. Oceanlink further explains that the rising levels of noise in the ocean is instigated by man’s increasing activities, like boat traffic, shipping containers and oil exploration. Even scientific processes that measure average temperature of the ocean, also known as acoustic thermometry, can cause noise pollution.
To help prevent ocean noise pollution is to initially target the source and understand the depth of the problem, a process which was initiated by Dziak and his colleagues when they submerged the hydrophone in the Challenger Deep. Government efforts also play a large part in this endeavor through legislation and programmes that adhere to marine life preservation.
Apart from the ocean, terrestrial noise has been an ongoing problem humans have to solve. Extended exposure to noise may affect humans by causing hearing problems, health issues and sleeping disorders. According to the Harvard Business Review , reducing noise pollution may be as simple as using plants as sound absorbers at home and even in the office. Aside from being natural sound absorbers, plants also improve oxygen levels in the environment.
Noise pollution can also compound the problem of noise in terms of radio reception, which is caused by disruption of white noise by thermal noise, electronic noises and others, according to Popsci . Disruption of radio reception can also come from atmospheric interference or deficiencies picked up by the receiver’s antennae. The worsening of man-made noises and congestion of channels have pushed the use of devices with noise-cancellation technology. The network extender from 5BARz International , for instance, has a smart signal processing for interference/echo cancellation which allows for quality sound in phone and video calls.
The ocean and its marine life bring balance to our nearly devastated planet Earth. The call to take care of it and the increasing need to preserve its species is louder than ever.