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Wind Turbine Noise in May Journal of Acoustical Society of America  

Author:  | Noise

Assessment of annoyance due to wind turbine noise.
Pawlaczyk-Luszczynska M, Dudarewicz A, Zaborowski K, Zamojska M, Waszkowska M.
Abstract: The overall aim of this study was to evaluate the perception and annoyance of noise from wind turbines in populated areas of Poland. The study group comprised 378 subjects. All subjects were interviewed using a questionnaire developed to enable evaluation of their living conditions, including prevalence of annoyance due to noise from wind turbines, and the self-assessment of physical health and well-being. In addition, current mental health status of respondents was assessed using Goldberg General Health Questionnaire GHQ-12. For areas where respondents lived, A-weighted sound pressure levels (SPLs) were calculated as the sum of the contributions from the wind power plants in the specific area. It has been shown that the wind turbine noise at the calculated A-weighted SPL of 30-50 dB was perceived as annoying outdoors by about one third of respondents, while indoors by one fifth of them. The proportions of the respondents annoyed by the wind turbine noise increased with increasing A-weighted sound pressure level. Subjects’ attitude to wind turbines in general and sensitivity to landscape littering was found to have significant impact on the perceived annoyance. Further studies are needed, including a larger number of respondents, before firm conclusions can be drawn.
J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 May;133(5):3450. doi: 10.1121/1.4806110

Wind turbine sound prediction – The consequence of getting it wrong.
Palmer WK.
Abstract: The application to permit a wind turbine power development usually involves submission of a prediction for the sound level that will occur at residences, schools, places of worship, and elsewhere people gather for restorative rest. This paper uses the example of a wind power development, and follows iterations taken to finalize the sound level prediction. The paper provides quantitative information collected since the start up of the wind power development on measured sound levels and octave band distribution; and qualitative observations on the special characteristics of the sound. Actual observations are compared to the predictions. More importantly, the paper reviews the consequences self-reported in qualitative interviews by citizens living with the changed environment after four years of operation of the wind power development. Reported impacts included difficulty sleeping, loss of jobs, and changes to social relationships, caregiving, pursuit of hobbies, leisure, learning, and overall health. Changes in measured health outcomes are identified. Both the quantitative and qualitative findings justify revision of the permitting process.
J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 May;133(5):3419. doi: 10.1121/1.4805992

Generation of wind turbine noise signature for use in lab environment.
Zosuls A, Kelley RM, Mountain D, Grace S.
Abstract: The fact that wind turbines produce infrasound continues to draw attention and discussion. Some argue that while the infrasound level produced by wind turbines is quite low, it still may be affecting the vestibular system or the hearing system, particularly via activation of the outer hair cells. Others hypothesize that the infrasound may be inducing whole body, chest cavity, or other human organ resonance. In order to study these hypotheses, it is first necessary to be able to recreate the turbine noise signature in a lab environment. Thus, the goal of this work is to create an acoustic system that can produce low-level infrasound. The system requirements include low cost, high fidelity, and imperceptible structural coupling to the lab. In addition, the system must be able to produce a broadband spectrum as well as a single tone. Progress toward the design of this audio system is discussed in this paper.
J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 May;133(5):3419. doi: 10.1121/1.4805991

Amplitude modulation of audible sounds by non-audible sounds: Understanding the effects of wind turbine noise.
Lichtenhan J, Salt A.
Abstract: Our research has suggested a number of mechanisms by which low-frequency noise could bother individuals living near wind turbines: causing endolymphatic hydrops, exciting subconscious pathways, and amplitude modulation of audible sounds. Here we focus on the latter mechanism, amplitude modulation. We measured single-auditory-nerve fiber responses to probe tones at their characteristic frequency in cats. A 50 Hz tone, which did not cause an increase in spontaneous firing rate (i.e., was not audible to the fiber when presented alone) was used to amplitude modulate responses to the probe tone. We found that as probe frequency decreased, a lower level of the low-frequency non-audible tone was needed to achieve criterion amplitude modulation. In other words, low-frequencies that are coded in the cochlear apex require less low-frequency sound pressure level to be amplitude modulated as compared to higher-frequencies that are coded in the cochlear base. This finding was validated, and extended to lower frequencies, by amplitude modulating gross measures of onset-synchronous (compound action potentials) and phase-synchronous (auditory nerve overlapped waveforms) in guinea pigs. Our results suggest that that infrasound generated by wind turbines may cause amplitude modulation of audible sounds, which is often the basis for complaints from those living near wind turbines.
J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 May;133(5):3419. doi: 10.1121/1.4805990

Model for underwater noise radiated by submerged wind turbine towers.
Hay T, Ilinskii YA, Zabolotskaya EA, Hamilton MF.
Abstract: Sustained tonal noise radiated by towers supporting offshore wind turbines contains energy in frequency bands that may disturb marine mammals, or interfere with passive sonar and seismic sensors and underwater communication equipment. Understanding the generation and propagation of underwater noise due to the operation of wind farms is important for determining strategies for mitigating the environmental impact of these noise sources. An analytic model based on a Green’s function approach was previously developed for the sound radiated in the water column by a pulsating cylindrical structure embedded in horizontally stratified layers of viscoelastic sediment [Hay et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 130, 2558 (2011)]. This model has since been adapted to include relaxation and viscous losses in seawater and empirical loss factors for the sedimentary layers. In order to validate the model simulations were compared with reported measurements collected near an operating wind turbine that include radial acceleration of the tower, taken to be the source condition, and sound pressure levels in the water column. For long-range propagation over range-dependent environments, the analytic model has been coupled to a parabolic equation code. Simulations are presented for several bathymetries, sediment types, and tower array configurations. [Work supported by Department of Energy DE-EE0005380.].
J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 May;133(5):3396. doi: 10.1121/1.4805903

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send queries to query/wind-watch.org.

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