We have developed a method to obtain a misfit function for robust waveform inversion. In this method, called adaptive traveltime inversion (ATI), a matching filter that matches predicted data to measured data is computed. If the velocity model is relatively accurate, the resulting matching filter is close to a Dirac delta function. Its traveltime shift, which characterizes the defocusing of the matching filter, is computed by minimization of the crosscorrelation between a penalty function such as t2 and the matching filter. ATI is constructed by minimization of the least-squares errors of the calculated traveltime shift. Further analysis indicates that the resulting traveltime shift corresponds to a first-order moment, the mean value of the resulting matching filter distribution. We extend ATI to a more general misfit function formula by computing different order moment of the resulting matching filter distribution. Choosing the penalty function in adaptive waveform inversion (AWI) as t2, the misfit function of AWI is the second-order moment, the variance of the resulting matching filter distribution with zero mean. Because our ATI method is based on a global comparison using deconvolution, such as AWI, it can resolve the “cycle skipping” issue. We evaluate our ATI misfit function and compare it with state-of-the-art options such as least-squares inversion (L2 norm), wave-equation traveltime inversion, and AWI using schematic examples before moving to more complex examples, such as the Marmousi model. For the Marmousi model, starting with a 1D v(z) model, with data without low frequencies (no energy below 3 Hz), a meaningful estimation of the P-wave velocity model is recovered. Our ATI misfit function (first-order moment) indicates comparable performance with the AWI misfit function (the second-order moment). We also include a real data example from the Gulf of Mexico to demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

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