Emergency managers and other officials are in urgent need of operational tools that will provide accurate tsunami forecast as guidance for rapid, critical decisions in which lives and property are at stake. The more timely and precise the warnings are, the more effective actions can local emergency managers take and the more lives and property can be saved.
Recent advances in tsunami measurement and numerical modeling technology are being integrated to create an effective tsunami forecasting system. Neither technology can do the job alone.
Observational networks will never be dense because the ocean is vast. Establishing and maintaining monitoring stations is costly and difficult, especially in deep water. Numerical model accuracy is inherently limited by errors in bathymetry and topography and uncertainties in the generating mechanism.
Combined, measurement and modeling techniques can provide reliable tsunami forecasts.
To forecast inundation from early tsunami waves, seismic parameter estimates and tsunami measurements are used to sort through a pre-computed generation/propagation forecast database and select an appropriate (linear) combination of scenarios that most closely matches the observational data. This produces estimates of tsunami characteristics in deep water which can then be used as initial conditions for a site-specific (non-linear) inundation algorithm.
A statistical methodology has been developed to forecast the maximum height of later tsunami waves that can threaten rescue and recovery operations. The results are made available through a user-friendly interface to aid hazard assessment and decision making by emergency managers.
Left: Dr. Eddie Bernard discusses NOAA Tsunami Forecasting technology. From the NOAA Ocean Media Center
The MOST model performed computations of generation/propagation scenarios for the forecast database. The nonlinear high-resolution model will provide the inundation forecasts. This methodology is the foundation of the next generation forecast tools for tsunami warning and mitigation that are being developed in close collaboration with Tsunami Warning Centers and academia. These new tools will provide site- and event-specific forecast of tsunami amplitudes to assist emergency managers during tsunami warning and mitigation procedures.
The SIFT (Short-term Inundation Forecasting for Tsunamis) system is used for operations in NOAA Tsunami Warning Centers. A SIFT forecast is the numerical estimate of amplitude, travel time, and additional tsunami properties using an inundation model constrained by real-time tsunami observations for specific coastal locations. Forecast products include estimates of tsunami amplitudes, flow velocities and arrival times for offshore, coastal and inundation areas. Forecast inundation models are being developed to provide real-time tsunami predictions for selected coastal locations while the tsunami is propagating through the open ocean, before the waves have reached many coastlines. Forecast inundation models will be incorporated into the SIFT U.S. tsunami warning system for use at the Pacific and National Tsunami Warning Centers.
NCTR forecasting software tools:
- SIFT - Operational NOAA tsunami forecasting system that combines real-time tsunami event data with numerical models to produce forecasts of tsunami wave arrival times and amplitudes.
- ComMIT - internet-enabled interface to the community tsunami model
- Tweb - Web-based tsunami modeling tool used to generate and view tsunami forecasts in research and operational tsuanmi forecasting
Publications and presentations:
- Titov, V.V., NOAA Tsunami Forsecast Development (2011) (PowerPoint in PDF format)
- Soreide, N.N., D.W. Denbo, Y. Wei, D. Arcas, V.V. Titov (2011): Developing tsunami flooding forecast software. In 23rd Conference on Interactive Information Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology, 91th AMS Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, 23-27 January 2011. . (Power Point format)
- Development of a Real-time Tsunami Forecasting System (Poster in PDF format).
- Denbo, D.W., K.T. McHugh, J.R. Osborne, P. Sorvik, and A.J. Venturato. (2007): NOAA tsunami forecasting system: Design and implementation using service oriented architecture. In 23rd Conference on Interactive Information Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology, 87th AMS Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 14–18 January 2007. [PDF Version]
- Venturato, A.J., D.W. Denbo, K.T. McHugh, J.R. Osborne, P. Sorvik, and C. Moore (2007): NOAA tsunami forecasting system: Using numerical modeling tools to assist in tsunami warning guidance. In 23rd Conference on Interactive Information Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology, 87th AMS Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 14–18 January 2007, Paper 3A.8.
- Venturato, A.J., E. Gica, D.W. Denbo, and V.V. Titov (2007): Assimilation of real-time tsunami event data into forecasting models. In 11th Symposium on Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for the Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface (IOAS-AOLS), 7th AMS Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, 14–18 January 2007, Paper P1.10
- Forecast inundation models - real-time tsunami predictions for selected coastal locations
- Forecast Propagation Database - pre-computed tsunami events that can be combined linearly to simulate arbitrary earthquake scenarios to provide a very fast forecast during an actual tsunami event
- More about Forecast Modeling and the MOST model
- from Real-time tsunami forecasting: Challenges and solutions (PDF)
Titov, V.V., F.I. González, E.N. Bernard, M.C. Eble, H.O. Mofjeld, J.C. Newman, and A.J. Venturato
Nat. Hazards, 35(1), Special Issue, U.S. National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, 41–58 (2005)
- NCTR Publications List