National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2012

Near-field hazard assessment of March 11, 2011 Japan tsunami sources inferred from different methods

Wei, Y., V. Titov, A. Newman, G. Hayes, L. Tang, and C. Chamberlin

In Proceedings of Oceans' 11 MTS/IEEE, Kona, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, 19–22 September 2011, 9 pp, No. 6107294 (2011)

Tsunami source is the origin of the subsequent transoceanic water waves, and thus the most critical component in modern tsunami forecast methodology. Although impractical to be quantified directly, a tsunami source can be estimated by different methods based on a variety of measurements provided by deep-ocean tsunameters, seismometers, GPS, and other advanced instruments, some in real time, some in post real-time. Here we assess these different sources of the devastating March 11, 2011 Japan tsunami by model-data comparison for generation, propagation and inundation in the near field of Japan. This study provides a comparative study to further understand the advantages and shortcomings of different methods that may be potentially used in real-time warning and forecast of tsunami hazards, especially in the near field. The model study also highlights the critical role of deep-ocean tsunami measurements for high-quality tsunami forecast, and its combination with land GPS measurements may lead to better understanding of both the earthquake mechanisms and tsunami generation process.

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