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Prediction of far-field wind turbine noise propagation with parabolic equation

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Sound propagation of wind farms is typically simulated by the use of engineering tools that are neglecting some atmospheric conditions and terrain effects. Wind and temperature profiles, however, can affect the propagation of sound and thus the perceived sound in the far field. A better understanding and application of those effects would allow a more optimized farm operation towards meeting noise regulations and optimizing energy yield. This paper presents the parabolic equation (PE) model development for accurate wind turbine noise propagation. The model is validated against analytic solutions for a uniform sound speed profile, benchmark problems for nonuniform sound speed profiles, and field sound test data for real environmental acoustics. It is shown that PE provides good agreement with the measured data, except upwind propagation cases in which turbulence scattering is important. Finally, the PE model uses computational fluid dynamics results as input to accurately predict sound propagation for complex flows such as wake flows. It is demonstrated that wake flows significantly modify the sound propagation characteristics.

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