Generating regional infrasound celerity-range models using ground-truth information and the implications for event location

Nippress, Alexandra and Green, David N and Marcillo, Omar E and Arrowsmith, Stephen J
Geophysical Journal International, 197(2): 1154-1165, 2014

Celerity-range models, where celerity is defined as the epicentral distance divided by the total traveltime (similar to the definition of group velocity for dispersed seismic surface waves), can be used for the association of infrasound automatic detections, for event location and for the validation of acoustic propagation simulations. Signals recorded from ground truth events are used to establish celerity-range models, but data coverage is uneven in both space and time. To achieve a high density of regional recordings we use data from USArray seismic stations recording air-to-ground coupled waves from explosions during the summers of 2004–2008 at the Utah Training and Test Range, in the western United States, together with data from five microbarograph arrays at regional distances (<1000 km). We have developed a consistent methodology for analysing the infrasound and seismic data, including choosing filter characteristics from a limited group of two-octave wide filter bands and picking the maximum peak-to-peak arrival. We clearly observe tropospheric, thermospheric and stratospheric arrivals, in agreement with regional ray tracing models. Due to data availability and the dependence of infrasound propagation on the season, we develop three regional celerity-range models for the U.S. summer, with a total of 2211 data picks. The new models suggest event locations using the Geiger method could be improved in terms of both accuracy (up to 80 per cent closer to ground truth) and precision (error ellipse area reduced by >90 per cent) when compared to those estimated using the global International Data Center model, particularly for events where stations detect arrivals at ranges <350 km. Whilst adding data-based prior information into the Bayesian Infrasound Source Localization (BISL) method is also shown to increase precision, to increase accuracy, the parameter space must be expanded to include station-specific celerity distributions.