Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Antisubmarine Sonar May Harm Our Marine Life

Originally Published June 24, 2008; Last Updated July 18, 2017; Last Republished July 18, 2017:

Modern electric submarines have less noisy machinery, greater endurance, reduced indiscretion ratio, and use energy absorbing materials.

This increased "stealth" has pushed our navy's antisubmarine warfare efforts in the direction of using lower frequency, higher power sonar.

However, the new sonar's energy may fatally harm or hinder our whales, dolphins, and perhaps other marine life over disputed distances of between 200 - 482,803 meters—an environmental impact study is needed and our navy is required by law to provide it.

Our navy has sought to unsuccessfully interpose a waiver in lieu of conducting the required study. After several adverse rulings our navy has appealed to the United States Supreme Court for relief from conducting the required study.

The next administration and Secretary of Navy must immediately dismiss Winter v. National Resources Defense Council, Inc. (No. 07-1239) and direct the navy to conduct the needed impact study.

Better stated by the author of the well read book, "The Submarine":
"...The navy thus faced the danger of losing its five-year exemption from the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Perhaps, however, that problem represented a small debt the navy could repay the creatures whose hydrodynamic beauty had inspired the father of the submarine more than a century earlier"...--Thomas Parrish, Author, The Submarine--


UPDATED 03/02/2016 NOAA, PMEL Acoustics
UPDATED 06/01/2012 Department of the Navy's Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

UPDATED 11/12/2008 Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 07-1239 (.3M pdf). US Supreme Court decision.
"We do not discount the importance of plaintiffs' ecological, scientific, and recreational interests in marine mammals. Those interests, however, are plainly outweighed by the Navy's need to conduct realistic training exercises to ensure that it is able to neutralize the threat posed by enemy submarines. The District Court abused its discretion by imposing a 2,200-yard shutdown zone and by requiring the Navy to power down its MFA sonar during significant surface ducting conditions. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is re-versed, and the preliminary injunction is vacated to the extent it has been challenged by the Navy."--Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 07-1239--
Lower Court Decision against the Navy 518 F.3d 658 (pdf)  


UPDATED 07/18/2017 Vox, Why The Ocean Is A Getting Louder

UPDATED 09/15/2016 PBS, Turning down the volume on human noise pollution for marine life

Not a bad idea to get started on reducing the excessive land noise, too—you can begin with the ridiculously excessive noise created by urban machinery.

UPDATED 09/12/2016 VancouverAquarium, Sonic Sea - Discussion and Sonic Sea Dot Org

UPDATED 07/30/2016 NRDC, Federal Court: Navy Must Limit Long-Range Sonar Use to Protect Marine Mammal and Wired, The Sea Will Get a Lot Quieter Without the Navy’s Whale-Killing Sonar (also, Wkipedia, Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System and  Low Frequency Active Sonar)

...and its not just low frequency sonar...Reuters, Still waters: U.S. to crack down on ocean noise that harms fish.

UPDATED 03/02/2016 NOAA, Seven miles deep, the ocean is still a noisy place
UPDATED 10/23/2014 CSM, What happens when you give a breathalyzer test to a dolphin?
UPDATED 08/21/2014 YourCall, Your Call: What Dangers do Whales Face Today? Post includes links to other resources (i.e. article, video, image, audio, and author etc).

UPDATED 12/25/2013 NYT, California: Sonar Use to Rise in Pacific

More rounds of inefficient and wasteful litigation.

UPDATED 07/03/2013 BBC, Blue and beaked whales affected by simulated navy sonar
UPDATED 05/05/2013 DailyMail, Navy sonar 'did cause mass dolphin deaths' say scientists who blame war games exercise off Cornish coast for strandings

UPDATED 07/16/2012 NYT, Whales, Somehow, Are Coping With Humans’ Din

More research and data are required before stating that whales (and other sea creatures) are coping with human din.

UPDATED 07/07/2012 Discovery, Navy Admits Whales and Dolphins in Harm's Way

UPDATED 06/01/2012 CapeCod, Navy: Three times more sonar testing

UPDATED 05/11/2012 NPR, Navy Study: Sonar, Blasts Might Hurt More Sea Life

UPDATED 01/26/2012 SeattleTimes, Groups sue over Navy sonar use off Northwest coast

Updated 05/04/2009 Santa Cruz Sentinel, New research shows temporary hearing loss possible due to naval sonar in dolphins. Biology Letters, Sonar-induced temporary hearing loss in dolphins.

Updated 01/02/2009 AP, Study: Hawaii''s pygmy killer whales stay close.

Updated 12/29/2008 Navy.mil, Navy Settles Worldwide Mid-Frequency Active Sonar Lawsuit.

Updated 10/09/2008 Navy.mil, Supreme Court Hears Navy Sonar Case.
"A well-trained Navy is key to defending our security and prosperity."--CNO, Admiral Gary Roughead--
Our navy must learn to defend our security and prosperity with the smallest possible footprint—we are not required to choose between killing our marine life and living in security and prosperity, they are complementary.

Updated 10/08/2008 Google->AP, [US Supreme] Court wrestles with case on Navy sonar, whales

Updated 08/12/2008 NYT, Navy Agrees to Sonar System Restriction and SFGate, Navy to restrict sonar blasts to protect whales, other sea mammals.

Navy agrees to limit its usage of low-frequency high power sonar. Still on appeal from the ninth circuit, in a separate case (see above), is continued usage of mid-frequency sonar.

Updated 07/09/2008 NYT Opinion Rear Admiral Larry Rice, Marine Mammals and the Navy. Submarines are all about optimization under constraints.

In order to optimize given a specific constraint we must understand the constraint(s).

The study the navy seeks to avoid conducting via waiver and litigation is about understanding those constraints marine mammals may impose on our submarines—not four dollar a gallon gas.

It is uncharacteristic for a navy admiral to use demagoguery, PR stunts, and NYT''s editorial pages verses the scientific process and data to optimize performance under constraints.

Updated 07/04/2008 Canadian Press, U.S. Navy has adopted new rules to help protect marine mammals

Updated 07/04/2008 US Navy, Environmental News

New sonar ruling backs global restrictions

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