National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2010

A Tsunami Forecast Model for Crescent City, California

Arcas, D., and B. Uslu

NOAA OAR Special Report, PMEL Tsunami Forecast Series: Vol. 2, 112 pp (2010)

This work is part of a larger effort by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide tsunami forecast models for at-risk coastal communities in the United States. The goal of the present work is to develop a tsunami forecast model that will provide timely and reliable estimates of tsunami wave heights for Crescent City, California. The difficulty of the development process resides in the need to have the forecast model achieve similar results as the higher-resolution reference model from which it was derived but without the computational expense in terms of time. The development process is based on the Method of Splitting Tsunamis numerical code and involves validation with historical events, and stability simulations conducted with artificial, extreme Mw = 9.3 events to test the model for robustness. A total of 11 historical tsunamis and 16 synthetic mega events were used for validation and stability testing of the Crescent City forecast model. The development process also involves the construction of a high-resolution reference model used to monitor the deviation of forecast results fromthose computed with a more accurate, higher-resolution model. Results show that a forecast model with a resolution of 2 arc sec and slightly reduced geographical coverage is capable of generating 4 hr of tsunami simulation in less than 10 min of CPU time, and still produce similar results as those obtained with a higher-resolution (1 arc sec) reference model, but without the exceedingly long computational time associated with it.

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