Inter-model analysis of tsunami-induced coastal currents

Patrick J. Lynett, Kara Gately, Rick Wilson, Luis Montoya*, Diego Arcas, Betul Aytore, Yefei Bai, Jeremy D. Bricker, Manuel J. Castro, Kwok Fai Cheung, C. Gabriel David, Gozde Guney Dogan, Cipriano Escalante, José Manuel González-Vida, Stephan T. Grilli, Troy W. Heitmann, Juan Horrillo, Utku Kânoğlu, Rozita Kian, James T. KirbyWenwen Li, Jorge Macías, Dmitry J. Nicolsky, Sergio Ortega, Alyssa Pampell-Manis, Yong Sung Park, Volker Roeber, Naeimeh Sharghivand, Michael Shelby, Fengyan Shi, Babak Tehranirad, Elena Tolkova, Hong Kie Thio, Deniz Velioğlu, Ahmet Cevdet Yalçıner, Yoshiki Yamazaki, Andrey Zaytsev, Y. J. Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


To help produce accurate and consistent maritime hazard products, the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program organized a benchmarking workshop to evaluate the numerical modeling of tsunami currents. Thirteen teams of international researchers, using a set of tsunami models currently utilized for hazard mitigation studies, presented results for a series of benchmarking problems; these results are summarized in this paper. Comparisons focus on physical situations where the currents are shear and separation driven, and are thus de-coupled from the incident tsunami waveform. In general, we find that models of increasing physical complexity provide better accuracy, and that low-order three-dimensional models are superior to high-order two-dimensional models. Inside separation zones and in areas strongly affected by eddies, the magnitude of both model-data errors and inter-model differences can be the same as the magnitude of the mean flow. Thus, we make arguments for the need of an ensemble modeling approach for areas affected by large-scale turbulent eddies, where deterministic simulation may be misleading. As a result of the analyses presented herein, we expect that tsunami modelers now have a better awareness of their ability to accurately capture the physics of tsunami currents, and therefore a better understanding of how to use these simulation tools for hazard assessment and mitigation efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-32
Number of pages19
JournalOcean Modelling
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


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