Anelastic sensitivity kernels with parsimonious storage for adjoint tomography and full waveform inversion

Dimitri Komatitsch, Zhinan Xie, Ebru Bozdağ, Elliott Sales de Andrade, Daniel Peter, Qinya Liu, Jeroen Tromp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


We introduce a technique to compute exact anelastic sensitivity kernels in the time domain using parsimonious disk storage. The method is based on a reordering of the time loop of timedomain forward/adjoint wave propagation solvers combined with the use of a memory buffer. It avoids instabilities that occur when time-reversing dissipative wave propagation simulations. The total number of required time steps is unchanged compared to usual acoustic or elastic approaches. The cost is reduced by a factor of 4/3 compared to the case in which anelasticity is partially accounted for by accommodating the effects of physical dispersion. We validate our technique by performing a test inwhichwe compare the Kα sensitivity kernel to the exact kernel obtained by saving the entire forward calculation. This benchmark confirms that our approach is also exact. We illustrate the importance of including full attenuation in the calculation of sensitivity kernels by showing significant differences with physical-dispersion-only kernels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1478
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


  • Computational seismology
  • Numerical solutions
  • Seismic attenuation
  • Seismic tomography
  • Tomography
  • Wave propagation


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