"Hey, scientists, listen to this belly flop!!" Photo via Flickr Creative Commons, Christian Revival Network
We've always been infatuated with Antarctica, so we were super excited when one of our own had the opportunity to visit and bring back photos of everything from seals and penguins to infrastructure found on the frozen continent. Now there's another really cool way to get close to Antarctica and feel like you're there - you can listen to it, live!
Gizmodo reports that PALAOA, the Perennial Acoustic Observatory in the Antarctic Ocean, listens to the waters below Antarctica in order to monitor marine life, and we get to eavesdrop.
PALAOA explains that the sound quality isn't awesome, since it's condensed for scientific research and not for pure listening pleasure. Also, hearing animal sounds might be tough: "Amplifier settings are a compromise between picking up distant animals and not overdriving the system by nearby calving icebergs. So you might need to pump up the volume - but beware of sudden extreamely loud events."
But still...you get to listen to the waters of the Antarctic. How cool is that?!
PALAOA describes how the system works: "Underwater sound is recorded by means of two hydrophones by PALAOA, an autonomous, wind and solar powered observatory located on the Ekström ice shelf (Boebel et al., 2006). The data stream is transmitted via wireless LAN from PALAOA to the German Neumayer Base. From there, a permanent satellite link transmits the data to the AWI in Germany."
Listen to the sounds while you check out this slideshow of Antarctica!
More on Antarctica
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Notes From Antarctica: It's Not Too Cold to Embrace Renewable Power
Antarctica's First Wind Farm Up & Running - 122,000 Gallons Less Diesel Fuel Needed for Electricity