Caribbean Sea Whistles Loudly, Mysterious Sound Can Be Heard From Space

First Posted: Jun 25, 2016 04:20 AM EDT

A strange noise emanating from the Caribbean Sea has reportedly been detected by researchers from UK's University of Liverpool. The sound, which was found to be similar to a whistle, was so remarkable that it could be picked up from space, even though it was too low to be initially caught by human ears on our planet's surface.

The scientists heard the sound when conducting a research about regional sea level and pressure changes, especially in the Caribbean Sea owing to its significant role in creating currents that feed into the Gulf Stream. The team soon realized there was something mysterious going on when they noticed pressure oscillations in their study model which did not seem quite right.

The scientists zeroed in on the oscillations and realized that they emanated a low noise, which could only be described as a whistle. The whistle's pitch was so strong that it could be measured in space by observing the oscillations on Earth's gravity field. The further study of the effect led the scientists to understand that the sound was actually a Rossby Wave, a phenomenon that moves west on the ocean, and reaches the Caribbean basin, where it disappears for 120 days and then reappears again to make the journey back to the east of the ocean. The researchers attributed the mysterious whistle of the sea floor to the Rossby Wave.

"An ocean current flowing through the Caribbean Sea becomes unstable and excites a resonance of a rather strange kind of ocean wave called a Rossby wave," said Chris Hughes, from the researching team. "Because the Caribbean Sea is partly open, this causes an exchange of water with the rest of the ocean which allows us to 'hear' the resonance using gravity measurements".

Incidentally the note of the wave is in A-flat tone, which is around 30 octaves lower than a piano's lowest note. Furthermore, the researchers believe that the "Rossby Whistle" is actually impacting the flow of the Caribbean current and subsequently the whole North Atlantic Ocean. The team now wants to study more about the effect of the Rossby Whistle, particularly its capability of coastal flooding prediction.

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