Review of sound propagation in the atmosphere


  • J.E. Piercy Div. of Phys., Nat. Res. Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ont., Canada
  • T.F.W. Embleton Div. of Phys., Nat. Res. Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ont., Canada


acoustic noise, atmospheric acoustics, reviews, atmosphere, mechanisms, outdoor sound propagation, community noise problems, ground impedance, modelling, ground plane, semi-infinite porous medium, point source, atmospheric inhomogeneity, turbulence, refraction, thermal boundary layer, attenuation of barriers, interference effects, diffractive shadow zone


Advances in the understanding of the mechanisms of outdoor sound propagation during the last five years which are relevant to community noise problems are discussed, and an attempt made to fit them into a consistent overall picture. One aspect is studies of ground impedance and the relevance of modelling the ground plane by a semi-infinite porous medium. Another is the contribution of theoretical papers on propagation from a point source through a homogeneous atmosphere over a plane of finite impedance. A third is the effect of atmospheric inhomogeneity-most notably scattering by turbulence and refraction by the thin (~10 cm) thermal boundary layer close to the ground. The attenuation of barriers is also discussed including the application of modern theory to diffraction over the top, interference effects produced by reflection from the ground, and scattering down into the diffractive shadow zone by turbulence




How to Cite

Piercy J, Embleton T. Review of sound propagation in the atmosphere. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 1982 Jan. 1 [cited 2021 Oct. 27];10(1):24-37. Available from:



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