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Infrasonic propagation from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption: Investigating the influence of stratospheric solar tides



[1] The stratospheric infrasound duct, formed between Earth's surface and altitudes of ∼50 km, is sensitive to spatiotemporal variations in stratospheric wind speed and temperature. Infrasound recorded at long range from the 2010 summit eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland, exhibits temporal variability correlated with diurnal stratospheric solar tidal wind speed variations. Between 18 and 28 April 2010, signal observations at stations BKNI, U.K. (range, 1745 km), and IS18, Greenland (range, 2285 km), exhibit prominent diurnal variations in infrasonic amplitude, bandwidth, back azimuth, and apparent speed, which we identify using the CLEAN spectral analysis algorithm for unevenly sampled time series. Results of 3-D acoustic ray tracing through operational atmospheric specifications indicate that tidal wind speed variations (with amplitudes of ∼20 m/s) can generate diurnal variations in the proportion of the acoustic wavefield propagating within the stratospheric acoustic duct. Range-dependent meteorology is required; propagation modeling using averaged meteorological profiles fails to predict the leakage of acoustic energy out of the stratospheric acoustic duct at times of low observed signal amplitudes. Ray tracing correctly predicts the phase of the observed signal amplitude and apparent speed variations. Diurnal variability in ducting, combined with diurnal variations in ambient noise at the sensors, can explain the observed signal bandwidth variations. Back azimuth variations (observed only along the Eyjafjallajökull to BKNI path) are not predicted by 3-D ray tracing. Tidal variations have implications for models of infrasound array network detection capability and for studies that utilize amplitude and bandwidth measurements to make inferences about the acoustic source.

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