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, most recently an 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.
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, including primarily 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.
The United States has developed initial procedures for alerting the public to the potentially hazardous conditions associated with meteotsunami formation and propagation. Recent discussions between the NWS Tsunami Program, NWS Storm Prediction Center, US National Tsunami Warning Center, servicing NWS regions, the Pacific Marine Environmental Lab and the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab has led to the development of a more systematic cueing, detection, forecast and warning protocol.
This presentation will outline the current state of the U.S. meteotsunami detection, forecast, and warning capability, and will summarize the most recent science, technology, research, and development efforts aimed at developing and implementing a robust meteotsunami warning system.