National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1998

Numerical modeling of tidal wave runup

Titov, V.V., and C.E. Synolakis

J. Waterw. Port Coast. Ocean Eng., 124(4), 157–171, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-950X(1998)124:4(157) (1998)

A numerical solution for the 2 + 1 (long-shore and onshore propagation directions and time) nonlinear shallow-water wave equations, without friction factors or artificial viscosity is presented. The models use a splitting method to generate two 1 + 1 propagation problems, one in the onshore and the other in longshore direction. Both are solved in characteristic form using the method of characteristics. A shoreline algorithm is implemented, which is the generalization of the earlier 1 + 1 algorithm used in the code VTCS-2. The model is validated using large-scale laboratory data from solitary wave experiments attacking a conical island. The method is applied then to model the 1993 Okushiri, Japan, the 1994 Kuril Island, Russia, and the 1996 Chimbote, Peru tsunamis. It is found that the model can reproduce correctly overland flow and even extreme events such as the 30-m runup and the 20-m/s inundation velocities inferred during field surveys. The results suggest that bathymetric and topographic resolution of at least 150 m is necessary for adequate predictions, while at least 50 m resolution is needed to model extreme events, contrary to intuitive expectations that long waves would not interact with morphological features of such short scales.

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