W

Why can we hear better on land than on water?

6 Answers
Why can we hear like that
J

By the way you've phrased your question, I am assuming you mean sound traveling 'over water' as when you're on a boat or on the shore.

It's been my experience that under certain circumstances, sound carries better over water than over land. There are two explanations for this when sound carries better over water. One, water evaporating off the surface both cools the surface of the water and the air directly above it. Sound carries farther in cooler air than warmer air. The other reason depends on the surface condition of the water. A calm surface reflects sound waves smoothly (specular reflection) and adds to the amount of sound that travels in a particular direction. If the surface has 'waves', the waves tend to scatter the sound in many directions, so sound doesn't travel as far over a 'choppy' surface. A similar effect happens over land, where surface irregularities (or vegetation) tend to disperse sound waves or absorb them.

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N

It's mostly the temperature reason mentioned above. Not only do sound waves travel faster through cool air, but the sound waves that are directed upwards towards the warmer air will, in a sense, reflect back downwards, augmenting the sound.

Of course there's also the fact that there aren't things like trees and buildings on water to block sound waves either, but even when comparing a lake to, say, an open plain, sound will carry better over the water.

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A

It is the opposite. We can hear better on water than on land. This is because the speed of sound waves is greater in water than on land. The speed of sound in fresh water is about 1497 meters per second at 25 degrees Celsius temperature, whereas the speed of sound in (dry) air is 343.2 meters per second at 20 degrees Celsius temperature.

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I

I believe this is not actually true. Water particles are much closer together than air particles therefore making it much easier for the pulses of transverse waves to be passed through.

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G

I believe the sound travels better over water. Perhaps you have in mind the noise of water, which fuses with the sound we struggle to hear?

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D

Because water is medium of refraction of sound as well as light , therefore we can hear better on land than on water!

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