Yet another unpleasant and potentially damaging aspect of higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (aside from lethal global warming) is that there is likely to be a significant increase in noise levels in the oceans, which translates into bad news for sea mammals.
In a joint project between the University of Hawaii and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, scientists have been studying the effects of CO2 emissions, increases in ocean acidification and the ramifications of the oceans ability to absorb and transmit sound.
Previously, the chemical composition of seawater absorbed sound levels but, as oceans become increasingly acidic due to rising CO2 levels, those sounds travel further and become significantly louder.
Marine mammals like dolphins and whales that rely on sound for communication could potentially have increased difficulty differentiating between ship noises and sonar, which unfortunately operates in the same range as most marine mammal communication.
The ocean’s ability to absorb sound is expected to decrease by as much as 60% by 2100 in upper latitude oceans and in deepwater formations where ocean acidification is increasing the most.