Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blinded by Noise

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit's decision banning the use of offshore sonar, allowing the Navy to continue blasting high-decibel bursts into waters off the coast of Southern California. The sonic blasts are believed to have the capacity to disorient, shock, and deafen whales and other cetaceans.

Meanwhile, new studies are showing that increasing carbon dioxide levels, which are being partially absorbed by the oceans, are compounding the issue of ocean noise -- producing a lethally -- and blindingly -- cacophonous environment for cetaceans, for whom underwater sound plays the role of both hearing and vision.