Predicting Sound and Light Levels at Large Spatial Scales

Monday, 16 February 2015: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Room LL21E (San Jose Convention Center)
Kurt M. Fristrup, National Park Service Division of Natural Sounds and Night Skies, Fort Collins, CO
The National Park Service created models of sound level and night sky conditions for the coterminous U. S. to assess resource conditions in national parks and adjacent landscapes. These models generalize measurements taken from hundreds of sites spanning the range of geographic and ecological conditions found in park units. These data show that most people live in environments where night skies and soundscapes are profoundly degraded, and that noise and light pollution issues span much of the continent. For example, noise elevates median background sound levels by more than 3 decibels in 62% of the coterminous U. S. National parks and other protected natural areas are also affected, though many still present opportunities to enjoy pristine night skies and long intervals free from noise. Collaborative conservation efforts that extend beyond park boundaries will be required to conserve natural sensory environments for future generations.