Are meteotsunamis an underrated hazard?

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    Copyright © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. Meteotsunamis are generated by meteorological events, particularly moving pressure disturbances due to squalls, thunderstorms, frontal passages and atmospheric gravity waves. Relatively small initial sea-level perturbations, of the order of a few centimetres, can increase significantly through multiresonant phenomena to create destructive events through the superposition of different factors. The global occurrence of meteotsunamis and the different resonance phenomena leading to amplification of meteotsunamis are reviewed. Results from idealized numerical modelling and field measurements from southwest Australia are presented to highlight the relative importance of the different processes. It is shown that the main influence that leads to amplification of the initial disturbance is due to wave shoaling and topographic resonance. Although meteotsunamis are not catastrophic to the extent of major seismically induced basin-scale events, the temporal and spatial occurrence of meteotsunamis are higher than those of seismic tsunamis as the atmospheric disturbances responsible for the generation of meteotsunamis are more common. High-energy events occur only for very specific combinations of resonant effects. The rareness of such combinations is perhaps the main reason why destructive meteotsunamis are exceptional and observed only at a limited number of sites globally.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
    Issue number2053
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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