Cooler Conditions May Be Best For Capturing Sound-Related Evidence

There is a remarkable correlation, we’ve noticed, between temperature and being able to capture incredible presumably anomalous evidence.  In the warmer months, for example, we have noticed there appears to be an increase in the amount of thermal evidence.  In the cooler months, we have noticed there appears to be an increase in the amount of clearly audible sound-related evidence.  We wanted to explore these connections and find out if there really was some unnoticed correlation or were they merely random anomalies.

While we have not conducted an actual study on this pattern, we began researching why this could possibly be the case.   It is important to understand the fundamentals behind temperature and sound to be able to answer this question.

Atoms and molecules in a substance do not always travel at the same speed.  In fact, atoms and molecules in many substances, such as a gas, tend to travel in random directions at various speeds.  Some of them are fast and some are slow.  This means there is a range of energy among the particles or, more precisely, a range of kinetic energy.  Temperature is a measure of this range.  It is a measure of the average heat or thermal energy of the particles in the substance.  The temperature, or average kinetic energy, of a small cup of boiling water, for example, will have the same temperature as a large pot of boiling water even if the pot is much larger with a more volume of water.  Heat and temperature are not the same.  Heat is the total energy of molecular motion in a substance and depends on the speed of the particles, the size or mass of the object, and the type of particles in the object.  Heat will increase or decrease temperature.

Higher temperatures mean that the particles are moving, vibrating, and rotating with far more energy.  This is important information to keep in mind as we explore the link between temperature and sound-related evidence.  Sound waves are pressure mechanical waves and results from the back and forth vibration of the particles of the medium through which it is traveling.  Sound needs a medium in order to exist because of its nature.  As a sound wave moves through the medium, each particle of the medium vibrates at the same frequency.  It can be thought of as a domino effect in which one particle affects the next.

Sound speed and distance depends on the density of the medium, as well.  Density is merely the mass of anything, including air, divided by the volume in which it occupies.  However, air density depends on its temperature, pressure, and vapor.  Anyone studying physics or chemistry understands, and is often surprised, to discover that humid air is actually less dense, or lighter, than dry air.  To put it simply, water vapor molecules are lighter than the nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere.  Thus, when they are introduced, air molecules tend to “leave”.

Why is all this important when studying sound-related evidence?  Sounds waves, for this reason, will travel faster in warmer air because the particles are already moving very quickly in random directions.  However, there is a downside to this fast motion.  As the sound wave travels and encounters the particles along with various other mediums, such as solids, some of the energy is lost with each collision.  The energy lost as a result of these collisions results in the release of heat.  This is the reason, we hypothesize, that much more thermal-related evidence can be captured more readily during warmer months than cooler months.  Sounds waves travel faster through denser mediums.  Because cooler air is more dense than warmer air, it stands to reason that sound would travel faster in cooler air.  It does not.  This is because, in gases, an increase in temperature will cause the molecules to move faster, which means the speed of sound will increase in gases.

During the cooler months, the temperature is much lower; meaning the average kinetic energy of the particles is much slower because we are moving away from the sun.  The particles in our atmosphere are moving at a much slower rate.  Because the particles are moving much slower, sound travels a lot slower.  This means the molecules are not “pushing” as hard on their surroundings.  However, although sound travels a lot slower in cooler air because it is less dense and the average kinetic energy has decreased, the sound’s amplification and duration increases.  In others, cooler air results in the ability to hear sound more clearly for longer periods of time.  Moisture laden air is a better conductor of sound than dry air.  Therefore, moisture carries sound farther.  However, if the air is very cold and dense, it becomes a better conductor of sound.

This will often result, in general, in higher frequencies.  Air absorbs higher frequencies more easily than lower frequencies.  The sound waves will be partially absorbed and the energy lost as heat may be too small to be felt but can be detected through scientific instruments.  While sound is slower in cooler conditions, it possesses a higher amplification.  Why?  This is because less energy is lost to heat.

In conclusion, it is our hypothesis that investigative teams and researchers should be able to capture more thermal-related evidence during the warmer months because more energy is lost to heat and, during the cooler months, more sound-related evidence can be better deciphered because less energy is lost to heat, thus resulting in higher amplification of sound waves.  All of this is, of course, assuming the waves you are capturing are, indeed, sound waves.