Caribbean Sea is a sub-oceanic basin of western Atlantic Ocean which is to the south-east of Gulf of Mexico. South America, Central America and Caribbean islands surround this sea and it covers an area of 10,63,000 square miles. With the Gulf of Mexico, it is called as the American Mediterranean. Oceanographically speaking, the sea is called as Antillean-Caribbean Sea as the Caribbean Sea borders the greater and lesser Antilles (archipelago).
Ocean scientists of University of Liverpool conducted experiments on the Caribbean Sea and found out that the sea, apart from normal waves’ sound, produces whistle sounds which can be heard from the space as oscillations of Earth’s gravitational field.
They studied the sea levels and took pressure readings from 1958 to 2013 using 4 different models of ocean activity. They used the information collected from the tide gauges and gravity’s measurement through satellites.
Caribbean Sea Whistles – Supernatural? Aliens?
Caribbean Sea Whistles are neither supernatural and nor are they created by Aliens. Please allow us to explain. The scientists sometimes noticed that a large wave moves slowly along the west side and interacts with the seabed. This large wave is called as Rossby wave and the phenomenon is called as Rossby Whistle. As this wave reaches the western boundary, it meets its end. However, it re-emerges on the eastern side of the sea. This is termed as Rossby wormhole. Only waves of some length survive and seem to strengthen themselves, thereby producing oscillations.
Because of these Rossby’s, the water in Caribbean Sea flows in and out once in 120 days. This is enough to change the Earth’s gravitational field and the satellites to measure. Though it is heard from space, we can’t hear it because it is below the general audible range (20-20,000 Hz) of humans.
Caribbean Sea Whistles – Modus Operandi?
It works just like a whistle. Chris Hughes from University of Liverpool, who is an expert in Sea Level Science, explained that when a whistle is blown, the air which enters the whistle becomes unstable and excites the sound wave which resonates and fits into the whistle’s space. As the whistle is open from one side, the air comes out and you can hear the sound.
Let’s talk in terms of Caribbean Sea. An ocean current which is flowing in the sea becomes unstable and excites the Rossby wave and makes this Rossby wave to resonate. Just like a whistle, the Caribbean Sea is open from only one side, the water gushes in and out and we can hear the sounds through gravity!
Why are Caribbean Sea Whistles Important?
Apart from the unusual and whistle kind of sounds that this phenomenon produces, it is important to research on Rossby whistle because it can cause a sea level change of 10 cm and hence serves as an important tool for predicting floods. The scientists also believe that it may impact the entire North Atlantic as it controls the water flow in Caribbean Current, from which the Gulf Stream starts. Gulf Stream is important for maintaining the balance in the oceanic climate.