Growler Noise in Research

"Let’s not forget, noise is a health hazard."

- Dr. Arline Bronzaft (Noise researcher, public advocate, and worldwide consultant on the effects of noise)

Serene Olympic National Park is no place for noisy Navy Growlers

"Washington state is blessed with national parks in which you can escape into nature. The importance of having these spectacular places on our doorstep has only grown during this pandemic, in which travel restrictions and lockdowns have left more Washingtonians heading into our national parks to sample the tranquillity that has been in short supply this year. But unfortunately, many visitors at Olympic National Park  are increasingly reporting a very different experience."

The Seattle Times on Dec. 9, 2020 by Rob Smith:


Above and below: Military aircraft noise in air and under water at Whidbey Island, Washington

"Military operations may result in noise impacts on surrounding communities and wildlife. A recent transition to more powerful military aircraft and a national consolidation of training operations to Whidbey Island, WA, USA, provided a unique opportunity to measure and assess both in-air and underwater noise associated with military aircraft. In-air noise levels (110 ± 4 dB re 20 µPa rms and 107 ± 5 dBA) exceeded known thresholds of behavioral and physiological impacts for humans, as well as terrestrial birds and mammals. Importantly, we demonstrate that the number and cumulative duration of daily overflights exceed those in a majority of studies that have evaluated impacts of noise from military aircraft worldwide. Using a hydrophone deployed near one runway, we also detected sound signatures of aircraft at a depth of 30 m below the sea surface, with noise levels (134 ± 3 dB re 1 µPa rms) exceeding thresholds known to trigger behavioral changes in fish, seabirds, and marine mammals, including Endangered Southern Resident killer whales. Our study highlights challenges and problems in evaluating the implications of increased noise pollution from military operations, and knowledge gaps that should be prioritized with respect to understanding impacts on people and sensitive wildlife."

Kuehne, L. M., Erbe, C., Ashe, E., Bogaard, L.T., Collins, M.S., and Williams, R. (2020) Download

Featured in The Seattle Times on Dec. 5, 2020 by Lynda V. Mapes:

See more of Lauren M. Kuehne’s research studies and CV:


Military flights threaten the wilderness soundscapes of the Olympic Peninsula, Washington

"Noise from military aircraft over the Olympic Peninsula (Washington, USA), has increased in recent years with changes in operations from nearby facilities. Further increases in training activities are proposed, but lack of any data that describe current noise levels has hindered assessment of impacts on humans and wildlife. Over a one-year period, we monitored three primary and two supplemental sites to document current noise contributions of military aircraft to the soundscape. We found that currently, 88% of audible air traffic is military. Flight training activities were concentrated during weekdays and in daytime hours, with hourly percent time audible averaging 14 to 42%. The duration of time that military aircraft were audible in any hour was correlated across sites up to 51 km apart, and the site outside the operations area experienced substantial noise, signifying a noise footprint extending well beyond the operations area. Maximum loudness of flyover events exceeded 82 dBA (A-weighted sound pressure level), and a median increase of 3 to 4 dBA (i.e., a doubling of existing acoustic energy) from ambient periods was typical in most sites and seasons. Comparison of spectral power densities indicates that military aircraft largely impact frequencies below 1.2 kHz, averaging a 20-dB increase (i.e., quadrupling of loudness) in this frequency range compared with ambient samples. Our results demonstrate that changes in military operations will play a dominant role in dictating the future soundscape of the Olympic Peninsula, and offer an empirical basis for inquiry into how the proposed increases will impact people and wildlife in this region."

Kuehne, L. M. and Olden, J.D. (2020) Download

Featured in UW News on Dec. 7, 2020: