Noise Impact Model

Published Dec. 3, 2012
BNOISE2 calculates and displays blast noise exposure contours from large gun and explosive charge operations.

BNOISE2 calculates and displays blast noise exposure contours from large gun and explosive charge operations.

SARNAM quantifies the noise impacts of small arms fire.

SARNAM quantifies the noise impacts of small arms fire.

Accurate Noise Exposure Forecasts

The key element of an effective noise management strategy is the ability to accurately forecast and assess community noise exposure. Military training and testing operations can cause significant noise impact on communities in the surrounding area. This can lead to community action, like formal complaints, political pressure, legal action, and damage claims, which can impede mission execution.


Helps Develop Successful Noise Management Strategy

To properly assess and develop a noise management strategy, scientists at the ERDC Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) developed modeling technology to evaluate the impact of weapons noise on humans and animals.

CERL scientists designed the technology believing that the best noise impact research would stem from the knowledge of physiological and psychological reactions to weapons noise. They created algorithms to predict the noise field around the weapon, from small to large distances, and accurately assess these effects in any given tactical scenario.


Provides the Most Accurate Assessments

The CERL Noise Impact Model is an application suite of technology tools that helps users collect and assess data to develop a successful noise management strategy. The suite features the following three modeling applications with cross-functional assessment power across all types of military training and testing environments.

Blast Noise Impact Assessment (BNOISE2)
BNOISE2 calculates and displays blast noise exposure contours resulting from operations involving large guns and explosive charges. BNOISE2 improves quantification of blast noise impact, making the program useful to all military services and the private sector. This product facilitates noise management and planning for existing and new ranges. This helps significantly reduce the types of formal community noise complaints that can lead to curtailment or closure of training and testing facilities.

BNOISE2 is a PC-based application that runs in Windows® XP, Windows® 2000 (and earlier Windows® versions) environments. With a more user-friendly interface, BNOISE2 offers significant improvements over its predecessor, BNOISE, including:

  • Improved propagation algorithms
  • Updated weapons source models
  • Detailed effects of land-water boundaries and terrain on sound

The software considers type of weapon and ammunition, number and time of rounds fired, range attributes, weather, and assessment procedures and metrics. It accounts for spectrum and directivity of both muzzle blast and projectile sonic boom, which facilitates accurate calculation of noise footprints.


  • Library of database records, including weapons, metrics, and frequency-weighting schemes, plus required information regarding guns and ammunition (source models) and ranges
  • Propagation algorithm calculates sound levels at each node of a user-defined geographical grid
  • Noise level values can convert to contours for display in NMPlot
  • Noise contours display includes a zoom control for viewing various levels of detail and the capability to print map overlays
  • Flexible data works in Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), “Shape” (SHP), and Autodesk “Drawing eXchange Format” (DXF) file formats
  • Available metrics include sound exposure level (SEL), peak, and day-night noise level (DNL)

Small Arms Range Noise Assessment Model (SARNAM)

SARNAM calculates and displays noise level contours for firing operations at small arms ranges. By quantifying the impact of small arms range noise, SARNAM provides key information to create successful noise management strategies for new and existing ranges. CERL engineers designed SARNAM to run on the Windows XP operating system. Its capabilities for assessing noise impact include:

  • Long-term community noise impact assessment
  • Event-based and episodic noise level examinations
  • Planning for range operations
  • Range design noise evaluations of siting, orientation, and barrier and safety baffle placements

The noise assessment capability of SARNAM is an essential part of a noise impact and encroachment management program. A successful program helps prevent noise complaints and precludes the need to purchase noise-impacted land. SARNAM provides a cost-effective, practical approach to resolve the complex calculations required to analyze noise contours.


  • Library of database records, including weapons (military and commercial), metrics and frequency weighting schemes. Plus, users can define and store additional entries.
  • Operational databases for analysis include type of weapon and ammunition, number and time of rounds fired, range attributes such as size and barriers, metrics and assessment procedure
  • Accurate calculations of propagation and of sound attenuation by barriers accounting for spectrum and directivity of both muzzle blast and projectile bow shock
  • Choice of sound exposure level (SEL), peak, and day-night noise level (DNL) metrics and a variety of frequency weightings
  • Calculated noise contours are displayed via NMPlot
  • Results can be ported to a Geographical Information System (GIS) system via Autodesk Drawing eXchange Format (DXF) file format

Range Managers Toolkit (RMTK) Software Noise Tool

CERL engineers designed RMTK to help Range Managers and trainers quickly assess the noise impact of training or testing on any given day, and in a variety of weather conditions. As a noise prediction and impact assessment software tool, RMTK also helps trainers and managers plan preliminary range siting for noise. Easy to use and simple to interpret, RMTK helps predict the likelihood of noise complaints on any given training day.

The noise model outputs a map display which illustrates acoustic regions in decibels (dB) in a PK15 (met) metric. The output displays by color to indicate relative levels of complaint risk. This information is devised specifically to help Range Managers and trainers improve site- and time-specific scheduling of training and testing.


  • Integrated within the Army Sustainable Range Program (SRP) Range Managers Toolkit (RMTK)
  • Easy to use, with an intuitive GUI
  • Displays noise contours in ArcMap
  • Works for small arms, large arms, and demolitions
  • Outputs are for planning purposes, not to be included in public release documents

Success Stories

  • Software is used in 20 NEPA studies and six Installation Noise Management Plans on average each year.
  • Outputs from SARNAM and BNoise2 are utilized in ACUB (Army Compatible Use Buffer) and JLUS (Joint Land Use Study) assessments to determine the benefit of purchasing or leasing land for noise reasons.

ERDC Points of Contact

Questions about CERL Noise Impact Models?
Contact:  Michelle E. Swearingen, Acoustical Engineer
Phone: (217) 373-4521
Updated 25 August 2020