Preliminary Note

Dispersion calculation for noise according to the Guidelines ISO 9613-2 (VDI 2714), VDI 2571, VDI 2720, RLS-90 and SCHALL 03

Extract of the guideline ISO 9613-2.

ISO 9613: Acoustics - Attenuation of sound during propagation outdoors -
Part 2: General method of calculation


The ISO 1996 series of standards specifies methods for the description of noise outdoors in community environments. Other standards, on the other hand, specify methods of determining the sound power levels emitted by various noise sources, such as machinery and specified equipment (ISO 3740 series) or industrial plants (ISO 897). This part of ISO 9613 is intended to bridge the gap between these two types of standard, to enable noise levels in the community to be predicted from sources of known sound emissions. This method described in this part of ISO 9613 is general in the sense that it may be applied to a wide variety of noise sources, and covers most of the major mechanisms of attenuation. There are, however, constraints on its use, which arise principally from the description of environmental noise in the ISO 1996 series of standards.

1. Scope

This part of ISO 9613 specifies an engineering method for calculating the attenuation of sound during propagation outdoors in order to predict the levels of environmental noise at a distance from a variety of sources. The method predicts the equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure level (as described in parts 1 to 3 of ISO 1996) under meteorological conditions favorable to propagation from sources of known sound emission.

These conditions are for downwind propagation, as specified in of ISO 1996-2:1987 or, equivalently, propagation under a well-developed moderate ground-based temperature inversion, such as commonly occurs at night. Inversion conditions over water surfaces are not covered and may result in higher sound pressure levels than predicted from this part of ISO 9613.

The method also predicts a long-term average A-weighted sound pressure level as specified in ISO 1996-1 and ISO 1996-2. The long-term average A-weighted sound pressure level encompasses levels for a wide variety of meteorological conditions.

The method specified in this part of ISO 9613 consists specifically of octave-band algorithms (with nominal midband frequencies from 63 Hz to 8 kHz) for calculating the attenuation of sound which originates from a point sound source, or an assembly of point sources. The source (or sources) may be moving or stationary. Specific terms are provided in the algorithms for the following physical effects:

  • geometrical divergence:
  • atmospheric absorption;
  • ground effect
  • reflection from surfaces
  • screening by obstacles

Additional information concerning propagation through housing, foliage and industrial sites is given in annex A.

This method is applicable in practice to a great variety of noise sources and environments. It is applicable, directly or indirectly, to most situations concerning road or rail traffic, industrial noise sources, construction activities, and many other ground-based noise sources. It does not apply to sound from aircraft in flight, or to blast waves from mining, military or similar operations.

To apply the method of this part of ISO 9613, several parameters need to be known with respect to the geometry of the source and of the environment, the ground surface characteristics, and the source strength in terms of octave-band sound power levels for directions relevant to the propagation.

NOTE1 If only A-weighted sound power levels of the sources are known, the attenuation terms for 500 Hz may be used to estimate the resulting attenuation.

The accuracy of the method and the limitations to its use in practice are described in clause 9.

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