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The Sounds of Wind and Water

  1. Jul 2, 2013 #1


    Staff: Mentor

    I just returned from a tenting trip. In a tent, one hears the sounds of night more plainly. I was struck by the fact that, try as I might, I can not distinguish the sounds of wind from those of running water. Specifically,

    1. Moderate winds (15-30 kt) in the forest.
    2. Moderate winds (15-30 kt) on a bare surface in the desert.
    3. Moderate winds (15-30 kt) in a rock canyon.
    4. A mountain stream with white water rapids. Water speed ~25 kt.
    5. A nearby waterfall.
    6. A river, much larger and deeper than the mountain stream but swift (~8 kt).

    I should confess that my ears hear nothing above 3K hertz. Nevertheless, none of those noises sound to me similar to electronically generated white noise.

    I am also a sailor, so I can report that at sea, the sounds of wind are always confused with the sounds of waves, so that I can't ask the same questions in that case.

    I found a previous thread about wind noise on this forum. The answers provided had to do with vorticies. But I expect the mechanisms of noise production and transmission to be very different for wind and running water. I suspect that at least some of the water sounds are transmitted through the ground.

    Are my perceptions correct; are the spectra of these diverse noise sources really so similar?

    If yes, is it just coincidence or are there similarities in the noise production and transmission mechanisms?
  2. jcsd
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