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Wind turbine construction could permanently damage hearing… Of harbour seals

Shona Gossip — Aberdeen Journals Ltd. (UK) — May 20, 2015

Noise from the construction of offshore wind turbines could be damaging the hearing of harbour seals, according to new research published today.

Scientists at St Andrews University say noise from the pile driving process could affect the marine mammals’ ability to find food or mates and to detect and avoid deadly predators.

Offshore wind turbines are installed using pile drivers – large hammers that drive the foundation posts into the sea bed – which produce short pulsed sounds every few seconds.

There are currently 1,184 turbines around the coast of the UK generating around 4GW of power. The next round of construction, which began last year, will see hundreds more installed to generate a further 31GW.

Ecologists from the university’s sea mammal research unit (SMRU) attached GPS data loggers to 24 harbour seals while offshore wind turbines were being installed in the Wash in 2012.

They logged the seals’ locations and their diving behaviour, relaying the information onshore via the mobile phone network.

The data was combined with information on when pile driving was taking place to produce models which predicted the noise each seal was exposed to, and compared this with noise levels that other studies show cause auditory damage.

The model found that half of the tagged seals were exposed to noise levels that exceeded hearing damage thresholds.  Continue reading here…

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2 Comments on “Wind turbine construction could permanently damage hearing… Of harbour seals”

  1. Tracy May 21, 2015 at 12:08 am #

    It doesn’t surprise me. Wind turbine noise has severely impaired my hearing. Noise is amplified when travelling across as well as in the water. The damage it will cause to many aquatic species is beyond belief. What the hell??? Is our government deliberately trying to eliminate living species by allowing turbine development that will negatively effect health and in many cases, cause death?
    You know folks, by the time most people wake up and smell the big pile of shit we are in, we will be well beyond having the ability to help ourselves. God have mercy. Good bye cruel world.

  2. Peace on Earth Boutique May 29, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    The military are doing a lot of sonar underwater stuff too damaging wildlife … Rosalind Peterson reports on this at http://www.agriculturedefensecoalition.org/ … I drive by a set of 16 wind mills here just north of Amherst Nova Scotia {$61Million] that don’t even belong to the Nova Scotians and were paid for by them .. instead of powering the town .. they sell it as a commodity into the grid.. way to go big green .. what a scam it all is … I don’t know if you have a youtube channel .. but would like to see if you have any videos for your area.. cheers from N.B. Canada.

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