Full waveform inversion for time-distance helioseismology

Shravan M. Hanasoge, Jeroen Tromp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Inferring interior properties of the Sun from photospheric measurements of the seismic wavefield constitutes the helioseismic inverse problem. Deviations in seismic measurements (such as wave travel times) from their fiducial values estimated for a given model of the solar interior imply that the model is inaccurate. Contemporary inversions in local helioseismology assume that properties of the solar interior are linearly related to measured travel-time deviations. It is widely known, however, that this assumption is invalid for sunspots and active regions and is likely for supergranular flows. Here, we introduce nonlinear optimization, executed iteratively, as a means of inverting for the subsurface structure of large-amplitude perturbations. Defining the penalty functional as the L 2 norm of wave travel-time deviations, we compute the total misfit gradient of this functional with respect to the relevant model parameters at each iteration around the corresponding model. The model is successively improved using either steepest descent, conjugate gradient, or the quasi-Newton limited-memory Broyden-Fletcher-Goldfarb-Shanno algorithm. Performing nonlinear iterations requires privileging pixels (such as those in the near field of the scatterer), a practice that is not compliant with the standard assumption of translational invariance. Measurements for these inversions, although similar in principle to those used in time-distance helioseismology, require some retooling. For the sake of simplicity in illustrating the method, we consider a two-dimensional inverse problem with only a sound-speed perturbation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number69
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun
  • helioseismology - waves


Dive into the research topics of 'Full waveform inversion for time-distance helioseismology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this