Articles | Volume 13, issue 7
Research article
12 Jul 2013
Research article |  | 12 Jul 2013

The UBO-TSUFD tsunami inundation model: validation and application to a tsunami case study focused on the city of Catania, Italy

S. Tinti and R. Tonini

Abstract. Nowadays numerical models are a powerful tool in tsunami research since they can be used (i) to reconstruct modern and historical events, (ii) to cast new light on tsunami sources by inverting tsunami data and observations, (iii) to build scenarios in the frame of tsunami mitigation plans, and (iv) to produce forecasts of tsunami impact and inundation in systems of early warning. In parallel with the general recognition of the importance of numerical tsunami simulations, the demand has grown for reliable tsunami codes, validated through tests agreed upon by the tsunami community.

This paper presents the tsunami code UBO-TSUFD that has been developed at the University of Bologna, Italy, and that solves the non-linear shallow water (NSW) equations in a Cartesian frame, with inclusion of bottom friction and exclusion of the Coriolis force, by means of a leapfrog (LF) finite-difference scheme on a staggered grid and that accounts for moving boundaries to compute sea inundation and withdrawal at the coast. Results of UBO-TSUFD applied to four classical benchmark problems are shown: two benchmarks are based on analytical solutions, one on a plane wave propagating on a flat channel with a constant slope beach; and one on a laboratory experiment. The code is proven to perform very satisfactorily since it reproduces quite well the benchmark theoretical and experimental data. Further, the code is applied to a realistic tsunami case: a scenario of a tsunami threatening the coasts of eastern Sicily, Italy, is defined and discussed based on the historical tsunami of 11 January 1693, i.e. one of the most severe events in the Italian history.

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