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Peter Dahl

Senior Principal Engineer

Professor, Mechanical Engineering





Research Interests

Underwater Acoustics, Acoustic Remote Sensing


Dr. Dahl is a Senior Principal Engineer in the Acoustics Department and a Professor in the University of Washington's Department of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Dahl's research is in areas of acoustics with primary focus on underwater sound. Examples of his research include underwater acoustic remote sensing, the acoustics of underwater explosions, acoustic scattering and reflection from the sea surface and sea bed, vector acoustics, underwater ambient noise and methods to reduce underwater industrial noise.

He has conducted several ocean-going experiments involving underwater acoustics, including the Asian Seas International Acoustics Experiment (ASIAEX), sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, in the East China Sea involving the U.S., China and Korea and for which he was U.S. chief scientist.

Professor Dahl is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, has served as the chair of its technical committee on underwater acoustics (2002–2005), on its Executive Council (2008–2011), and has recently completed service as Vice President of the Acoustical Society of America.

Department Affiliation



B.S., University of Washington - Seattle, 1976

M.S. Ocean and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington - Seattle, 1982

Ph.D. Ocean Engineering, MIT, 1989


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Physical effects of sound exposure from underwater explosions on Pacific sardines (Sardinops sagax)

Dahl, P.H., A.K. Jenkins, B. Casper, S.E. Kotecki, V. Bowman, C. Boerger, D.R. Dall'Osto, M.A. Babina, and A.N. Popper, "Physical effects of sound exposure from underwater explosions on Pacific sardines (Sardinops sagax)," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 147, 2383-2395, doi:10.1121/10.0001064, 2020.

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20 Apr 2020

Explosions from activities such as construction, demolition, and military activities are increasingly encountered in the underwater soundscape. However, there are few scientifically rigorous data on the effects of underwater explosions on aquatic animals, including fishes. Thus, there is a need for data on potential effects on fishes collected simultaneously with data on the received signal characteristics that result in those effects. To better understand potential physical effects on fishes, Pacific sardines (Sardinops sagax) were placed in cages at mid-depth at distances of 18 to 246 m from a single mid-depth detonation of C4 explosive (4.66 kg net explosive weight). The experimental site was located in the coastal ocean with a consistent depth of approximately 19.5 m. Following exposure, potential correlations between blast acoustics and observed physical effects were examined. Acoustic metrics were calculated as a function of range, including peak pressure, sound exposure level, and integrated pressure over time. Primary effects related to exposure were damage to the swim bladder and kidney. Interestingly, the relative frequency of these two injuries displayed a non-monotonic dependence with range from the explosion in relatively shallow water. A plausible explanation connecting swim bladder expansion with negative pressure as influenced by bottom reflection is proposed.

Estimation of seabed properties and range from vector acoustic observations of underwater ship noise

Dahl, P.H., and D.R. Dall'Osto, "Estimation of seabed properties and range from vector acoustic observations of underwater ship noise," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 147, EL345, doi:10.1121/10.0001089, 2020.

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17 Apr 2020

The Intensity Vector Autonomous Recorder (IVAR) simultaneously measures acoustic particle velocity and pressure. IVAR was deployed during the 2017 Seabed Characterization Experiment (SBCEX) with the primary objective to study sound propagation in fine-grained, muddy sediments. In this study a Bayesian inversion framework is applied to ship underwater noise recorded by IVAR. The data are relative phase of pressure and vertical particle velocity, a quantity that is independent of the ship noise source spectrum. Inversion estimates for the sediment layer and underlying basement properties are in agreement with other reports from SBCEX.

The deployment of the seismometer to investigate ice and ocean structure (SIIOS) on Gulkana Glacier, Alaska

Marusiak, A.G., and 10 other including P.H. Dahl, "The deployment of the seismometer to investigate ice and ocean structure (SIIOS) on Gulkana Glacier, Alaska," Seismol. Res. Lett., 91, 1901-1914, doi:10.1785/0220190328, 2020.

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18 Mar 2020

The Seismometer to Investigate Ice and Ocean Structure (SIIOS) is a NASA‐funded analog mission program to test flight‐candidate instrumentation on icy‐ocean world analog sites. In September 2017, an SIIOS experiment was deployed on Gulkana Glacier. The instrumentation included a Nanometrics Trillium 120 s Posthole seismometer, four Nanometrics Trillium Compact (TC) seismometers, four Mark Products L28 geophones, and five each of Silicon Audio (SiA) 203P‐15 and 203P‐60 seismometers. The SiA sensors served as our flight‐candidate instruments. The instrumentation was arranged in a small (⁠< 2 m⁠) aperture array with most sensors deployed in the ice. We also placed five of the SiA seismometers on top of a mock lander to simulate placement on a lander deck. The instrumentation recorded an active‐source experiment immediately after deployment and then passively for 13 days. We conducted an active‐source experiment using a sledgehammer striking an aluminum plate at 13 locations, with 9–13 shots occurring at each location. During the passive observation, the experiment recorded one large Mw 7.1 event that occurred in Mexico and four other teleseismic events with Mw > 6.0⁠. The active‐ and passive‐source signals are being used to constrain the local glacial hydrological structure, environmental seismicity, to develop algorithms to detect and locate seismic sources, and to quantify the similarities and differences in science capabilities between sensors. Initial results indicate the flight‐candidate instrumentation performs comparably to the Trillium Posthole up to periods of 3 s, after which the flight‐candidate performs more comparably to the TCs.

More Publications


Acoustic Intensity Sensor Using MEMS Triaxial Accelerometer and MEMS Microphone

Record of Invention Number: 48987

David Dall'Osto, Peter Dahl


30 Jun 2020

Automatic Implementation of NOAA Marine Mammal Guidelines

Record of Invention Number: 48478

Peter Dahl, David Dall'Osto


13 Nov 2018

Airborne Acoustic Particle Motion Sound Meter

Record of Invention Number: 48135

David Dall'Osto, Peter Dahl


1 Aug 2017

More Inventions

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center