Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Evaluating the opposing wave interaction hypothesis for the generation of microbaroms in the eastern North Pacific

Authors

  • Kristoffer T. Walker

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
      Corresponding author: K. T. Walker, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0225, USA. (kwalker@ucsd.edu)
    Search for more papers by this author

Corresponding author: K. T. Walker, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0225, USA. (kwalker@ucsd.edu)

Abstract

[1] Two microphone arrays were deployed in California during 2010 to record microbaroms, quasi-continuous atmospheric pressure oscillations with a period of ∼5 s. In this paper a time-progressive, frequency domain beamforming method is developed and used to analyze microbaroms recorded by these and 10 other infrasonic arrays along the North Pacific rim. Common pelagic microbarom sources that move around the North Pacific are observed during the boreal winter. Summertime North Pacific sources are only observed by western Pacific arrays, presumably a result of weaker microbarom radiation and westward stratospheric winds. A well-defined source is resolved ∼2000 km off the coast of California in January 2011 that moves closer to land over several days. The source locations are corrected for deflection by horizontal winds using acoustic ray trace modeling with range-dependent atmospheric specifications provided by ground-to-space models. The observed source locations do not correlate with anomalies in NOAA Wave Watch 3 (NWW3) model field data. However, application of the opposing wave, microbarom source model of Waxler and Gilbert (2006) to the NWW3 directional wave height spectra output at buoy locations within 1100 km of the western North America coastline predicts microbarom radiation in locations that correlate with observed locations. These results suggest that pelagic North Pacific microbarom radiation detected by infrasonic arrays during the boreal winter could be routinely used to validate NWW3 results in regions with poor sensor coverage.

Ancillary