Climate change has brought once lively and loud habitats to utter silence as their inhabitants of birds, frogs and insects have either vanished or drastically changed their migration patterns, according to researchers.
A relatively new study known as biophony, or the signature of collective sounds that occur in any given habitat at any given time, has provided scientific evidence to show that the sounds of nature have been altered by both global warming and human endeavors.
"Biophony is changing," bioacoustician and founding father of the research, Bernie Krause, said. "What was present 20 years ago or so has changed so radically that you wouldn't recognize the habitat from its voice of 20 years ago."
Krause has recorded soundscapes for 45 years in a variety of locations both in the U.S. and internationally. During a TED talk in Edinburg, Scotland, Krause stated that of these soundscapes, "50 percent of his archive comes from habitats so radically altered that they are altogether silent or can no longer be heard in their original form."
While soundscape research has not been fully developed, hypotheses for the causes of these changes have been formed.
"My hunch from my work is that it has a lot to do with global warming," Krause said. "Springtime is occurring almost two weeks earlier than it was even 20 years ago."
The early onset of spring has brought migratory species to their migration and breeding grounds much earlier than years before, according to research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
"The breeding and migration cycles are out of sync with what's occurring in the natural habitats," Krause said.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar speaks during a news conference in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, March 11, 2010. The Interior Department report says global climate change poses a significant threat to migratory bird populations already stressed by the loss of habitat and environmental pollution. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen)
Due to these changes, typical food sources are not yet available or are limited in these locations.
In regards to songbirds, when food availability is impacted they will move immediately, according to Vice President for Program Development of the American Bird Conservancy Michael Parr.
This lack of food has caused a change in the patterns and diversity of the birds in these areas and as a result has diminished the original forms of the areas' soundscapes.
Aside from climate change, human endeavors also contribute to the imminent changes in nature's biophony.
"A large part of the reasons, aside from climate change, is human endeavor; mining and logging," Krause said. "The pressure is so intense on these habitats that a lot of change is occurring as a result of habitat destruction."
As these excavations continue, studying the soundscapes and biophony of the environment can show the changes that occur throughout a multitude of habitats.
"The eye doesn't always tell us the truth; it is easy to deceive," Krause said. "But the ear, in 15 seconds, can tell whether or not a habitat is healthy or whether it is under stress. We don't have to count trees, grasses, shrubs, mammals and birds."
Another round of rain is expected to move through the Carolinas on Saturday, which may lead to rises on some small streams and creeks.
“It was by far the most intimidating natural disaster I have ever chased,” Storm Chaser and Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer said of the historic flooding in South Carolina.
Winter will kick off with mild weather in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic as an intensifying El Nino influences the weather pattern across the country.
A "blob" of abnormally cold water in the North Atlantic, located near Greenland, has the potential to put enough drag on the ocean current to impact weather conditions in the years to come.
A strengthening storm system will bring the threat for flooding, mudslides and severe thunderstorms to areas from Italy into the Balkans later Friday into the weekend.
A fall-like weekend is in store for the Northeast, after rain and thunderstorms will dampen the region on Friday.
San Antonio, TX (2000)
A high temperature of 45 degrees (the average high on this date is 84 degrees).
New England (1804)
Extraordinary "Snow Hurricane" - snow mixed with heavy rains from Washington, D.C. on north - heavy snow in interior New England. Up to 2 feet in Green Mountains of Vermont.
A few snow flakes in Philadelphia, PA (trace). Also a trace of snow in Baltimore, MD.