The hydroacoustic component of the IMS captures the sound of the ocean during COVID-19

YPN Administrator • 19 June 2020

The hydroacoustic component of the IMS captures the sound of the ocean during COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has had major consequences for several areas of society. One of the most significant changes is the decline of cruise ships, oil tanks, and shipping, which has given scientists a unique opportunity to listen to the “real” sound of the ocean by using hydroacoustic technology. 


Silent seas 

Hydroacoustics describes the study of sound waves in the water and its applications and is one of four monitoring technologies used by the International Monitoring System (IMS) to verify compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). On 16 June, Dr. Georgios Haralabus from the CTBTO gave a presentation about the hydroacoustic component of the IMS. Dr. Georgios Haralabus works at the CTBTO as Project Manager in Hydro-Acoustics and Officer-in-Charge Chief of the Engineering and Development Section in IMS. In his Science & Tech Talk, he explained the hydro-acoustic component of the international monitoring system, as well as civil and scientific applications of CTBTO hydroacoustic data. 


The hydroacoustic component of the International Monitoring System consists of 11 stations – six underwater hydrophone stations and five T-phase stations on land. These stations can detect an underwater nuclear explosion anywhere in the world, and at the same time listen to whale song oceans away. With the slowdown of marine traffic since March 2020, scientists got an unprecedented chance to discover how the pre-industrial ocean sounds like. Dr. Georgios Haralabus said that they will contribute CTBTO data to a major international study to investigate the effects of the reduction in noise. Next year, one will be able to tell how this special situation affects the behavior of marine species.

The Young Professionals Network and COVID-19

Amid the pandemic, most countries have introduced travel restrictions and grand safety measures. Crossing borders has become difficult and numerous events have been canceled, but the Young Professionals Network has nevertheless tried to overcome the obstacles by shifting to online arenas. Thanks to inspiring and talented mentors and members, the Young Professionals Network has started a series of “Science & Tech Talks”. Everyone in the Young Professionals Network is more than welcome to give a video talk or presentation about a topic of interest, such as science, technology, individual research, or the operation of stations. A schedule for the next Science & Tech Talks will soon be made available for the YPN members.