The Lax-Wendroff correction is an elegant method for increasing the accuracy and computational efficiency of finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) solutions of hyperbolic problems. However, the conventional approach leads to implicit solutions for staggered-grid FDTD approximations of Maxwell's equations with frequency-dependent constitutive parameters. To overcome this problem, we propose an approximation that only retains the purely acoustic, i.e., lossless, terms of the Lax-Wendroff correction. This modified Lax-Wendroff correction is applied to an O(2, 4) accurate staggered-grid FDTD approximation of Maxwell's equations in the radar frequency range ( nearly equal 10 MHz-10 GHz). The resulting pseudo-O(4, 4) scheme is explicit and computationally efficient and exhibits all the major numerical characteristics of an O(4, 4) accurate FDTD scheme, even for strongly attenuating and dispersive media. The numerical properties of our approach are constrained by classical numerical dispersion and von Neumann-Routh stability analyses, verified by comparisons with pertinent 1-D analytical solutions and illustrated through 2-D simulations in a variety of surficial materials. Compared to the O(2, 4) scheme, the pseudo-O(4, 4) scheme requires 64% fewer grid points in two dimensions and 78% in three dimensions to achieve the same level of numerical accuracy, which results in large savings in core memory.

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