Meteotsunamis: Working toward an Operational Forecasting Capability.
Meteotsunamis have the same characteristics as earthquake-generated tsunamis, but are caused by barometric pressure forcing associated with intense, fast moving mesoscale convective systems (MCS) such as squall lines. Development of a meteotsunami depends on several factors such as the intensity, direction, and translational speed of the disturbance as it travels over a water body with a depth that enhances wave amplification due to resonance. Recent research has shown that meteotsunamis are more common than previously thought and suggests that some past events may have been mistaken for other types of coastal floods, such as storm surges or seiches. There have been at least five significant, verified meteotsunamis since 1954. Perhaps most notable was the recent event on June 13, 2013 when, in Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey, three people were injured when a six-foot wave swept them off a jetty and into the water.
The United States is still in the early stages of developing a meteotsunami forecast and warning capability. Led by NOAA, these efforts include developing a process that outlines when, where, and how meteotsunami form based on high resolution numerical weather prediction models, in-situ data sources such as sea-level pressure measurements and doppler weather radar, in combination with traditional tsunami forecast models. Converting this information into operational alerting protocols will be a complicated process involving multiple National-level centers, NWS regional teams , local Weather Forecast Offices, and public stakeholders.
This paper will investigate the current state of the U.S. meteotsunami detection, and forecast capability and will summarize the most recent science, technology, research, and development efforts—as well as remaining challenges to be overcome—that we hope will lead to a robust meteotsunami alerting system. The paper will be co-led by Michael D. Angove, NOAA Tsunami Program Lead, and Paul Whitmore, Director, National Tsunami Warning Center.
Supplementary URL: http://nws.weather.gov/nthmp/meteotsunamis.html