The Covid-19 lockdown has produced the quietest year for the world’s oceans in recent memory, according to a group of scientists working on a global map of underwater soundscapes.
Noise pollution from ship engines, trawling activities, oil platforms, subsea mining and other human sources declined significantly last spring, say the researchers, who are part of a collaborative network of 231 non-military hydrophones.
They believe the relative hush can provide valuable comparative data for an unplanned experiment in how sound affects whales, coral and other marine species.
Like light pollution on the land, human noise is a growing concern in the oceans because it has been proven to disrupt species that depend on sound for communication and navigation. Low-frequency signals can travel thousands of kilometres.
Photo: A view of a humpback whale jumping in the water, in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador. EPA-EFE/JOSE JACOME
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