Modelling tilt noise caused by atmospheric processes at long periods for several horizontal seismometers at BFO—A reprise

Geophysical Journal International
By: , and 



Tilting of the ground due to loading by the variable atmosphere is known to corrupt very long period horizontal seismic records (below 10 mHz) even at the quietest stations. At BFO (Black Forest Observatory, SW-Germany), the opportunity arose to study these disturbances on a variety of simultaneously operated state-of-the-art broad-band sensors. A series of time windows with clear atmospherically caused effects was selected and attempts were made to model these ‘signals’ in a deterministic way. This was done by simultaneously least-squares fitting the locally recorded barometric pressure and its Hilbert transform to the ground accelerations in a bandpass between 100 and 3600 s periods. Variance reductions of up to 97 per cent were obtained. We show our results by combining the ‘specific pressure induced accelerations’ for the two horizontal components of the same sensor as vectors on a horizontal plane, one for direct pressure and one for its Hilbert transform. It turned out that at BFO the direct pressure effects are large, strongly position dependent and largely independent of atmospheric events for instruments installed on piers, while three post-hole sensors are only slightly affected. The infamous ‘cavity effects’ are invoked to be responsible for these large effects on the pier sensors. On the other hand, in the majority of cases all sensors showed very similar magnitudes and directions for the vectors obtained for the regression with the Hilbert transform, but highly variable from event to event especially in direction. Therefore, this direction most certainly has to do with the gradient of the pressure field moving over the station which causes a larger scale deformation of the crust. The observations are very consistent with these two fundamental mechanisms of how fluctuations of atmospheric surface pressure causes tilt noise. The results provide a sound basis for further improvements of the models for these mechanisms. The methods used here can already help to reduce atmospherically induced noise in long-period horizontal seismic records.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Modelling tilt noise caused by atmospheric processes at long periods for several horizontal seismometers at BFO—A reprise
Series title Geophysical Journal International
DOI 10.1093/gji/ggab336
Volume 228
Issue 2
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Oxford Academic
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 927
Last page 943
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