Endangered orcas in Haro Strait 18 hours after sonar use

2012/02/08 in Acoustic analysis, Lime Kiln State Park, Network news, Orcasound lab, southern resident

Sounds of southern resident killer whales were detected late in the night on Monday (2/6/12), the same day that the Canadian frigate Ottawa used sonar in their U.S. critical habitat. The calls most often used by K and L pods were automatically detected first at the Orcasound hydrophone array (around 22:45) and then on the hydrophones at Lime Kiln State Park (23:04-23:14), suggesting that the pods were heading south during that period.

The calls recorded at Orcasound are interesting in part because they are audible over a continuously squeaking ship that has peak power in the frequency range of the calls. The most recognizable call in this set of detections is the S16 call which often indicates the presence of K pod.

The Lime Kiln recordings have much less ship noise. Many S19 calls are audible (indicating L pod may have been present), along with whistles, buzz trains, and some S10 calls. Around 23:11 the signal to noise ration is very good during a series of excited variable and S19 calls that are interspersed with echolocation clicks.

37 Detections


2012-02-06 22:41:58
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2012-02-06 22:42:13
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2012-02-06 22:46:09
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2012-02-06 22:46:24

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2012-02-06 22:47:47
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2012-02-06 23:04:02
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2012-02-06 23:04:12
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2012-02-06 23:04:42
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2012-02-06 23:04:52
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2012-02-06 23:05:02
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2012-02-06 23:05:12

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2012-02-06 23:05:29
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2012-02-06 23:06:21
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2012-02-06 23:06:36
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2012-02-06 23:06:46
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2012-02-06 23:07:59
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2012-02-06 23:09:08
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2012-02-06 23:09:23

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2012-02-06 23:09:33
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2012-02-06 23:09:43
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2012-02-06 23:09:53
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2012-02-06 23:10:32
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2012-02-06 23:10:42
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2012-02-06 23:10:52
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2012-02-06 23:11:02

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2012-02-06 23:11:13
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2012-02-06 23:11:23
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2012-02-06 23:11:38
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2012-02-06 23:11:48
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2012-02-06 23:11:58
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2012-02-06 23:12:26
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2012-02-06 23:12:36

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2012-02-06 23:12:47
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2012-02-06 23:12:57
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2012-02-06 23:13:22
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2012-02-06 23:13:32
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2012-02-06 23:13:47
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2 responses to Endangered orcas in Haro Strait 18 hours after sonar use

  1. Scott, there was a report in the Sooke paper of 2/2 of loud noises that may help shed even more light on this.
    http://www.sookenewsmirror.com/opinion/138424614.html

    Also, with so many faster ships traveling through the strait and a correlation with noise and speed, shouldn’t NOAA or someone be pursuing a speed limit. I’ve watched marineaccess.com many times and frequently see ships leap-frogging, which can’t be good either.

  2. Thanks, Cindy. What were (or are?) these loud noises like? Explosions? Rumblings? Are they heard only at the shoreline, or in air on land? When have they been hearing these sounds in Sooke?

    It appears there are some Naval exercises going on Feb 5-18, 2012 in the Pacific that include other Canadian vessels and may involve testing and training scenarios that could theoretically include gun fire and/or ordinance:

    http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/marpac/4/4-w_eng.asp?id=1163

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