Reports

Concorde Sonic Booms as an Atmospheric Probe

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Science  01 Jul 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4298, pp. 47-49
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4298.47

Abstract

Infrasound generated by the sonic boom from the inbound Concorde supersonic transport is recorded at Palisades, New York (Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory), as a series of impulses from distances varying from 165 to about 1000 kilometers. Refraction effects determined by temperature and wind conditions return the signal to the surface from both stratospheric (40 to 50 kilometers) and thermospheric (100 to 130 kilometers) levels. The frequency of the recorded signal is a function of the level of reflection; the frequency decreases from impulse stretching as the atmosphere becomes more rarified relative to the sound pressure. The horizontal trace velocity of the signal across the array of instruments is equal to the acoustic velocity at the reflection level. The sonic boom can thus be used to provide temperature-wind parameters at reflection levels estimated from the signal frequency. Daily observed signal variations have indicated significant variations in these parameters.

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