The Arctic soundscapes in a changing ocean


While most of the oceans are already dramatically affected by noise, our responsibility is to act fast and do anything we can to repair the damage. However, there are still some places in the world where we are still on time to control the advances of noise pollution. The Arctic for example, a unique Ocean where the ice protects its environment from artificial sound sources. But the ice is rapidly melting and will soon open the way to the exploration of the last resources on Earth.

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he Arctic soundscapes in a changing ocean

While most of the oceans are already dramatically affected by noise, our responsibility is to act fast and do anything we can to repair the damage.
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TIME IS SHORT

The Sense of Silence Foundation silent ears could represent our last chance to protect the acoustic balance of the Arctic Ocean and anticipate solutions to prevent an irreversible damage. While the ice is melting and the Arctic will soon see a dramatic increase of human activities that will probably threaten its balance, the use of underwater observatories has become essential in order to address concerns over the long-term effects of continuous low frequency sounds, such as those associated with any industrial approach at sea. Such acoustic observatories should provide a standardized approach to be implemented across the Arctic to answer urgent questions on conservation. The observatory should not restrain the analysis to a specific frequency bandwidth; it must include the contribution of all sources of noise – natural, biological and artificial – that compose the Arctic Ocean soundscapes, thus providing hitherto unseen insights into the Arctic acoustic ecology and contributing to build policies for a sustainable economical and environmental development of the region.

TIME IS SHORT

The Sense of Silence Foundation silent ears could represent our last chance to protect the acoustic balance of the Arctic Ocean and anticipate solutions to prevent an irreversible damage. While the ice is melting and the Arctic will soon see a dramatic increase of human activities that will probably threaten its balance, the use of underwater observatories has become essential in order to address concerns over the long-term effects of continuous low frequency sounds, such as those associated with any industrial approach at sea. Such acoustic observatories should provide a standardized approach to be implemented across the Arctic to answer urgent questions on conservation. The observatory should not restrain the analysis to a specific frequency bandwidth; it must include the contribution of all sources of noise – natural, biological and artificial – that compose the Arctic Ocean soundscapes, thus providing hitherto unseen insights into the Arctic acoustic ecology and contributing to build policies for a sustainable economical and environmental development of the region.


Absence of ice in summer: 20 years from now
Ice coverage: 170.000 km2 less since 2012
Polar bear population decline: 2 third in the next decade
OBJECTIVES

The Sense of Silence Foundation coordinates an international effort to deploy a state-of-the-art technology able to automatically detect, identify and track biological sounds, even when artificial noise is present and may mask natural sounds. The process includes the use of 1) hydrophones (microphones adapted to water) that records the ocean soundscapes; 2) an artificial electronic brain, which analyses in real-time the characteristics of each sound source and attributes them to a specific source, for example a whale or a dolphin; 3) a transmission/communication system that immediately transmits to the internet all the processed data and makes it available anywhere in the world to the public and interested parties through a dedicated user-friendly interface. The programme that manages this software package behind this complex analysis is called LIDO, Listening to the Deep-Ocean Environment, and is available online at listentothedeep.com.

OBJECTIVES

The Sense of Silence Foundation coordinates an international effort to deploy a state-of-the-art technology able to automatically detect, identify and track biological sounds, even when artificial noise is present and may mask natural sounds. The process includes the use of 1) hydrophones (microphones adapted to water) that records the ocean soundscapes; 2) an artificial electronic brain, which analyses in real-time the characteristics of each sound source and attributes them to a specific source, for example a whale or a dolphin; 3) a transmission/communication system that immediately transmits to the internet all the processed data and makes it available anywhere in the world to the public and interested parties through a dedicated user-friendly interface. The programme that manages this software package behind this complex analysis is called LIDO, Listening to the Deep-Ocean Environment, and is available online at listentothedeep.com.


SCIENTIFIC CHALLENGE

The scientific challenge undertaken here relies on developing acoustic stations that would stand the extreme conditions of the Arctic as well as would be able to transmit data immediately to the Internet. This has never been achieved in the Arctic because the technology was not yet mature and the cost associated to this deployment is high.
The Arctic soundscapes project benefits from the LIDO programme that has anticipated the use of an acoustic technology at temporal and spatial scales never experienced before and under extreme conditions.
The Arctic soundscapes project aims at deploying permanent LIDO acoustic stations on the Arctic ice (> 10 years) to automatically detect, classify and study the Arctic marine life, allowing not only society to connect in real-time to the Arctic Soundscapes but most importantly to provide science with unprecedented data on this unique and endangered region and anticipate solutions to an announced irreversible damage.

SCIENTIFIC CHALLENGE

The scientific challenge undertaken here relies on developing acoustic stations that would stand the extreme conditions of the Arctic as well as would be able to transmit data immediately to the Internet. This has never been achieved in the Arctic because the technology was not yet mature and the cost associated to this deployment is high.
The Arctic soundscapes project benefits from the LIDO programme that has anticipated the use of an acoustic technology at temporal and spatial scales never experienced before and under extreme conditions.
The Arctic soundscapes project aims at deploying permanent LIDO acoustic stations on the Arctic ice (> 10 years) to automatically detect, classify and study the Arctic marine life, allowing not only society to connect in real-time to the Arctic Soundscapes but most importantly to provide science with unprecedented data on this unique and endangered region and anticipate solutions to an announced irreversible damage.


LOOKING FOR FUNDING The Sense of Silence Foundation is now looking for funding to achieve these objectives. Estimated Budget: The technology involved in the monitoring of sounds under the ice is complex and expensive, as well as the real-time transmission of the data to the Internet so anyone can have access to the live stream of Polar sounds. But the major cost falls into the ice-breaker time to reach the chosen locations (on the North Pole to Farm Strait Axis). The overall initial cost is estimated to be around 2,5M€ for a 10 year-monitoring programme.

LOOKING FOR FUNDING

The Sense of Silence Foundation is now looking for funding to achieve these objectives. Estimated Budget: The technology involved in the monitoring of sounds under the ice is complex and expensive, as well as the real-time transmission of the data to the Internet so anyone can have access to the live stream of Polar sounds. But the major cost falls into the ice-breaker time to reach the chosen locations (on the North Pole to Farm Strait Axis). The overall initial cost is estimated to be around 2,5M€ for a 10 year-monitoring programme.

Absence of ice in summer: 20 years from now
Ice coverage: 170.000 km2 less since 2012
Polar bear population decline: 2 third in the next decade

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