We estimate the near surface velocity distribution by applying multiscale early arrival waveform inversion (MEWI) to shallow seismic land data. This data set is collected at Wadi Qudaid in western Saudi Arabia with the purpose of characterizing the shallow subsurface for its water storage and reuse potential. To enhance the accuracy of MEWI, we correct for the attenuation effects with an estimated factor Q, and also extract a natural source wavelet from the data. We then applied MEWI to invert the processed data for tomograms on different scales starting from a traveltime tomogram as our initial velocity model. Results suggest that, compared to traveltime tomography, MEWI can generate a more highly resolved velocity tomogram from shallow seismic data by inverting its low-frequency components on coarse grids and its high-frequency components on fine grids. The estimated water table in the MEWI tomogram is generally consistent with, but 9% deeper than, the traveltime tomogram, showing that the water storage in this wadi might be less than expected from the traveltime tomogram. We believe that the more accurate MEWI tomogram will make an economically important difference in assessing the storage potential of this wadi and wadis throughout the world. © 2014 European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers.
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