Modeling underwater sound propagation from an airgun array using the parabolic equation method


  • Alexander O. MacGillivray JASCO Applied Sciences, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • N. Ross Chapman School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada


Acoustic wave propagation, Partial differential equations, Starters, Air guns, Airgun array, Angle-dependent, Far-field, Normal modes, Ocean environment, Parabolic equation, Parabolic equation method, Parabolic Equations, Phase shifted, Pressure waveforms, Sound propagation, Underwater sound propagation, Wave forms


This article presents a technique for modeling sound propagation from an airgun array, using the parabolic equation (PE) method, that takes into full account the far-field, angle-dependent radiation pattern of the array. This is achieved by generating a PE starting field for the array by summing together shaded, phase-shifted replicas of the PE self-starter. The array starter has been implemented using the RAM parabolic equation model. A validation comparison is presented of field predictions generated using the array starter against exact normal mode solutions for an array source computed using the ORCA model. Examples of synthetic waveform airgun array calculations performed using the array starter are also provided. The method presented in this article can be used to accurately predict pressure waveforms from an airgun array in the ocean environment provided that the modeler knows (or can compute) far-field source signatures for individual airguns in the array.

Additional Files



How to Cite

MacGillivray AO, Chapman NR. Modeling underwater sound propagation from an airgun array using the parabolic equation method. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2012 Mar. 1 [cited 2024 Mar. 4];40(1):19-25. Available from:



Technical Articles