After a few foggy times looking at visibility I dragged the blog into the noisy world of horns and teach whistles. Today I’ve chosen this issue of measuring sound. This is turning out to be a very complicated thing, demanding of focus and math skills highly. It’s more troublesome than measuring the heat of chili peppers! Noise is sound waves (fluctuating air pressure) jumping down the tiny channels in our ears and stunning our ear canal drums. It’s an extremely complicated thing to measure.

One well-known device of noise dimension is the decibel (one-tenth of a bel). Noise measurement units – indeed the whole process – are specially-adapted to measure only what people hear. That isn’t quite exactly like measuring ALL the actual air pressure changes around us (noise). Many noises that might be heard by a dog, or bat, or like are not audible to us, so we intentionally filter them out during our measuring process.

We measure instantaneous noise, but average sound pressure is important also. It’s a “weighted average” of the instantaneous measurements as time passes. This cumulative noise is what wears out our eardrums, causing us eventually to suffer hearing loss. Sheesh. Even as I write this, I realize just what a complex subject this is. A decibel (dB) is a logarithmic unit that indicates the ratio of a physical amount (power or intensity) relative to a specified reference level. A percentage in decibels is ten times the logarithm to the foundations 10 of the percentage of two-power quantities. Because this is a ratio of two measurements of the physical volume, it is a dimensionless unit.

Well, of course it is. Hmmm (I hummed silently). Okay, let’s assume we do measure some sound – how could we best display our findings? 1. Measure sound in lots of places, over an extended period of time, calculate the common noise levels and spread your results on the map – you’ll have this storyline of the sound around NORTH PARK airport. The airport is the yellow area in the center. Other colors throughout the map reflect commercial buildings, parkland, homes, etc. If you live outside these areas then airport sound can be an insignificant part of your average daily sound intake (is there minimal daily requirements?).

2. Use special software to take those same measurements and you might get a three-dimensional, computer-generated noise map. This one originated from the China Daily newspapers. It shows a community in Shenzhen China. 3. Here’s an interesting way of showing an aircraft’s acoustical footprint. The unusual shapes visually portray the noise of planes landing and taking off. Patterns in orange represent noisy aircraft – these are no longer allowed (sorry, couldn’t resist) in America.

Blue patterns are peaceful planes. Numbers above each graphic are square kilometers of noise impact, and percentage of the airplanes landing at Chicago O’Hare; amounts below are plane model and passenger seating capacity. You are demonstrated by This display to identify planes making the most noise per passenger. Of course you should do this for each and every variant of the aircraft.

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Not all are shown here. 4. Here’s an FAA graph with two different plots. The front (grayish) shows the number of people affected by excessive airport sound. All of the numbers are in large numbers. Over 30 years, the number of people exposed to aircraft noise diminished as passenger numbers have increased steadily rapidly.

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