The mission of the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WCATWC) is to provide advance tsunami warning and guidance to coastal communities within its Area-of-Responsibility (AOR). Predictive tsunami models, based on the shallow water wave equations, are an important part of the Center's guidance support. An Atlantic-based counterpart to the long-standing forecasting ability in the Pacific known as the Alaska Tsunami Forecast Model (ATFM) is now developed. The Atlantic forecasting method is based on ATFM version 2 which contains advanced capabilities over the original model; including better handling of the dynamic interactions between grids, inundation over dry land, new forecast model products, an optional non-hydrostatic approach, and the ability to pre-compute larger and more finely gridded regions using parallel computational techniques. The wide and nearly continuous Atlantic shelf region presents a challenge for forecast models. Our solution to this problem has been to develop a single unbroken high resolution sub-mesh (currently 30 arc-seconds), trimmed to the shelf break. This allows for edge wave propagation and for kilometer scale bathymetric feature resolution. Terminating the fine mesh at the 2000m isobath keeps the number of grid points manageable while allowing for a coarse (4 minute) mesh to adequately resolve deep water tsunami dynamics. Higher resolution sub-meshes are then included around coastal forecast points of interest. The WCATWC Atlantic AOR includes eastern U.S. and Canada, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are in very close proximity to well-known tsunami sources. Because travel times are under an hour and response must be immediate, our focus is on pre-computing many tsunami source "scenarios" and compiling those results into a database accessible and calibrated with observations during an event. Seismic source evaluation determines the order of model pre-computation - starting with those sources that carry the highest risk. Model computation zones are confined to regions at risk to save computation time. For example, Atlantic sources have been shown to not propagate into the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, fine grid computations are not performed in the Gulf for Atlantic sources. Outputs from the Atlantic model include forecast marigrams at selected sites, maximum amplitudes, drawdowns, and currents for all coastal points. The maximum amplitude maps will be supplemented with contoured energy flux maps which show more clearly the effects of bathymetric features on tsunami wave propagation. During an event, forecast marigrams will be compared to observations to adjust the model results. The modified forecasts will then be used to set alert levels between coastal breakpoints, and provided to emergency management.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2012
- 4534 OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL / Hydrodynamic modeling;
- 4564 OCEANOGRAPHY: PHYSICAL / Tsunamis and storm surges;
- 4304 NATURAL HAZARDS / Oceanic;
- 4315 NATURAL HAZARDS / Monitoring;