This week I delivered a paper on the historic noise levels in the ocean prior to industrialized whaling. It turns out that the ocean was pretty noisy back in 1800, but the noise was all biological − with a preponderance of the noise coming from baleen whales..
Millions of whales were extirpated, particularly after the First World War when whalers began using motorized launches and power-driven harpoons with exploding heads. Now with less than 10% of some of their historic populations the ocean is quiet of these noble beasts.
The press webcast happened on Tuesday morning in Kansas City. The tale was picked up by a few outlets including the LA Times.
Hopefully the story will stimulate a larger conversation on ocean noise and the impacts of our growing population on marine habitat.