Sonar from the military, air guns from oil exploration, and the constant grumble from commercial ships have made our oceans a loud place. For whales, dolphins and other marine creatures that use sound as a way to communicate and find food, the anthropogenic noises are a big problem.
In an attempt to fight this, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began a project to map out all human-made noises in the ocean. The project began in 2010 and the first phase is almost completed. The goal is simple–to better understand the impact of noise on marine mammals in order to fight against it.
Many maps have been made public already. They use bright colors ranging from red to blue to show where noise levels are the highest.
“It’s a first step,” said Leila T. Hatch, a marine biologist and one of the project’s two directors. “No one’s ever done it on this scale.”
To find out more about the project, check out this great article from the NY Times: A Rising Tide of Noise Is Now Easy to See.
To learn more about noise pollution, check out these related articles:
- Underwater Noise Makes Whale Communication Difficult
- Long Before Human Noise Pollution, Oceans Were Loud as a Rock Concert
- Sonar Blamed for Recent Whale Beachings
- Victory for Marine Mammals and Environmentalists in California: Air Blasting Proposal Denied
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.