Sound propagation

Noise is a major factor determining air quality in human settlements. The propagation of sound in the atmosphere is greatly influenced by meteorological factors, such as the behaviour of the near surface wind, temperature and humidity, as well as the amount of turbulence in the air. For this reason, noise levels at dwellings vary greatly, even though the strength of the source may stay the same. It is important to understand the physical processes that determine sound propagation outdoors so that models, accurately predicting sound levels, can be developed. In the long term, better models can help facilitate well informed considerations in community planning, such as construction of new roads or the location and operation of wind farms.

Specific aspects of sound propagation are used to develop sensors used in meteorology. Much of the research in boundary layer meteorology involves sonic anemometers, which determine the wind speed and temperature from the speed of sound in the atmosphere. Wind energy research in Uppsala University apply sodars (SOund Detection And Ranging) that are used to measure the wind in the atmosphere based on the echo from sound pulses. The group also conducts research into developing new processing routines for the echo signals that aims to get better turbulence measurements from the echo signal.

Persons: Johan Arnqvist, Erik Nilsson

Ongoing project: