Atmospheric focusing

Atmospheric focusing is a phenomenon occurring when a large shockwave is produced in the atmosphere, as in a nuclear explosion or large extraterrestrial object impact. The shockwave is refracted horizontally by density variations in the atmosphere so that its impact can be felt in localized areas of destruction hundreds of kilometers from the blast site.

This effect operates similarly to the patterns made by sunlight on the bottom of a pool, the difference is that the light is bent at the contact point with the water while the shockwave is distorted by density variations (e.g. due to temperature variations) in the atmosphere. Variations of wind can cause a similar effect. This will disperse the shockwave at some places and focus it at others. For powerful shockwaves this can cause damage farther than expected; the shockwave energy density will increase beyond expected values based on uniform geometry (1/r^2 falloff).


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Compilation of atmospheric dispersion models — Atmospheric dispersion models are computer programs that use mathematical algorithms to simulate how pollutants in the ambient atmosphere disperse and, in some cases, how they react in the atmosphere. The dispersion models are used to estimate or …   Wikipedia

  • List of atmospheric dispersion models — Atmospheric dispersion models are computer programs that use mathematical algorithms to simulate how pollutants in the ambient atmosphere disperse and, in some cases, how they react in the atmosphere. Contents 1 U.S. Environmental Protection… …   Wikipedia

  • Self-focusing — is a non linear optical process induced by the change in refractive index of materials exposed to intense electromagnetic radiation. [Cumberbatch, E. Self focusing in Non linear optics , J. Inst. Maths Applics 6, 250 (1970)] Mourou, G. A. et al.… …   Wikipedia

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — NOAA Agency overview Formed October 3, 1970 (1970 10 03 …   Wikipedia

  • Shock wave — Bombshock redirects here. For the Transformers character, see Micromasters#Bombshock. For other uses, see shockwave. Schlieren photograph of an attached shock on a sharp nosed supersonic body. A shock wave (also called shock front or simply shock …   Wikipedia

  • Meteorite — This article is about debris from space that survives impact with the ground. For other uses of Meteor and Meteors , see Meteor (disambiguation). For popular applications, see Falling star. For the fictional superhero in the Marvel Comics… …   Wikipedia

  • Tsar Bomba — This article is about the Soviet hydrogen bomb. For the Bride album, see Tsar Bomba (album). AN602 The Tsar Bomba mushroom cloud seen from a distance of 160 km. The crown of the cloud is 56 km high at time of picture. Type …   Wikipedia

  • performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical.       The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains …   Universalium

  • Drought Research Initiative — The Drought Research Initiative(DRI) was established to better understand the physical characteristics of and processes influencing Canadian Prairie droughts, and to contribute to their better prediction, through a focus on the recent severe… …   Wikipedia

  • light — light1 lightful, adj. lightfully, adv. /luyt/, n., adj., lighter, lightest, v., lighted or lit, lighting. n. 1. something that makes things visible or affords illumination: All colors depend on light. 2. Physics …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.