LISTENING TO THE ARCTIC:
A Quantitative Study of Underwater Soundscape
in Inuit Waters of Nunavut, Canada
Listening to the Arctic is a collaborative project that was initiated in 2018 at UC San Diego between marine acoustician Dr. Joshua Jones (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Professor Lei Liang (Music Department) and Dr. Theocharis Papatrechas (Music Department, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Qualcomm Institute). The project involves quantitative research on underwater acoustic data captured by hydrophones in the Arctic Ocean.
The research is carried out based from Inuit communities in the North Baffin region and is aimed at facilitating decision-making by community organizations regarding wildlife management and economic development.
This is an area that is experiencing rapid change not only from changing sea ice and climate, but also due to the development of a large-scale industrial mining project in the area. Iron ore is mined and shipped to market via a northern sea route that goes through the Inuit waters of Eclipse Sound. Inuit rely on the harvest of marine mammals and other wildlife for their subsistence an important aspect of their culture.
Inuit organizations have expressed a need for public access to the sounds and the results of the acoustic research on potential impacts of shipping in particular on marine mammals.
This project is important to us because we get our ears underwater water to listen to the environment and understand the story of it. The overall goal of the collaboration is to bring those underwater elements that are widely inaccessible out for the broader community to experience and engage with.
Step 1: Technical Sound Design to Isolate Signals of Interest