Global temperatures directly affect the acidity of the ocean, which in turn changes the acoustical properties of sea water. New research suggests that global warming may give Earth’s oceans the same hi-fi sound qualities they had more than 100 million years ago, during the Age of the Dinosaurs, according to the American Institute of Physics.
The reason for this surprising communication upgrade is that whales vocalize in the low-frequency sound range, typically less than 200 hertz, and the new research predicts that by the year 2100, global warming will acidify saltwater sufficiently to make low-frequency sound near the ocean surface travel significantly farther than it currently does — perhaps twice as far.
Rhode Island acoustician David G Browning, lead scientist on the research team, will present his findings at the 164th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), held 22 – 26 October in Kansas City, Missouri.
He explains the sea change this way: “We call it the Cretaceous acoustic effect, because ocean acidification forced by global warming appears to be leading us back to the similar ocean acoustic conditions as those that existed 110 million years ago, during the Age of Dinosaurs.”
Earth to lead scientist ….. as seawater warms it develops lower CO2 solubility – so alkalinity increases.