National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2010

A Tsunami Forecast Model for San Francisco, California

Uslu, B., D. Arcas, V.V. Titov, and A.J. Venturato

NOAA OAR Special Report, PMEL Tsunami Forecast Series: Vol. 3, 88 pp (2010)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has developed a tsunami forecast model for San Francisco, California, as part of an effort to provide tsunami forecasts for United States coastal communities. Development, validation, and stability testing of the tsunami forecast model for this economically important and densely populated city has been conducted to ensure model robustness and stability. The San Francisco tsunami forecast model employs the optimized version of the Method of Splitting Tsunami numerical code and has been validated with historical events as well as with synthetically generated Mw = 9.3 mega tsunami events. A total of 11 historical tsunamis and 18 synthetic mega tsunami events were used for validation and stability testing. Validation results show good agreement between observed and modeled data, thus providing a quantitative estimate of the tsunami time series, inundation, and runup at San Francisco for tested events. A sensitivity study conducted in conjunction with model development identifies the eastern Aleutian-Alaska-Cascadia Subduction Zone as being the most likely source for the maximum expected tsunami amplitude at the San Francisco Presidio tide gauge.

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