Nonlinear synthesis of infrasound propagation through an inhomogeneous, absorbing atmosphere
An accurate and efficient method to predict infrasound amplitudes from large explosions in the atmosphere is required for diverse source types, including bolides, volcanic eruptions, and nuclear and chemical explosions. A finite-difference, time-domain approach is developed to solve a set of nonlinear fluid dynamic equations for total pressure, temperature, and density fields rather than acoustic perturbations. Three key features for the purpose of synthesizing nonlinear infrasound propagation in realistic media are that it includes gravitational terms, it allows for acoustic absorption, including molecular vibration losses at frequencies well below the molecular vibration frequencies, and the environmental models are constrained to have axial symmetry, allowing a three-dimensional simulation to be reduced to two dimensions. Numerical experiments are performed to assess the algorithm’s accuracy and the effect of source amplitudes and atmospheric variability on infrasound waveforms and shock formation. Results show that infrasound waveforms steepen and their associated spectra are shifted to higher frequencies for nonlinear sources, leading to enhanced infrasound attenuation. Results also indicate that nonlinear infrasound amplitudes depend strongly on atmospheric temperature and pressure variations. The solution for total field variables and insertion of gravitational terms also allows for the computation of other disturbances generated by explosions, including gravity waves.