06 Dec 2016
Research article |
| 06 Dec 2016
Fast evaluation of tsunami scenarios: uncertainty assessment for a Mediterranean Sea database
We present a database of pre-calculated tsunami waveforms for the entire Mediterranean Sea, obtained by numerical propagation of uniformly spaced Gaussian-shaped elementary sources for the sea level elevation. Based on any initial sea surface displacement, the database allows the fast calculation of full waveforms at the 50 m isobath offshore of coastal sites of interest by linear superposition. A computationally inexpensive procedure is set to estimate the coefficients for the linear superposition based on the potential energy of the initial elevation field. The elementary sources size and spacing is fine enough to satisfactorily reproduce the effects of M> = 6.0 earthquakes. Tsunami propagation is modelled by using the Tsunami-HySEA code, a GPU finite volume solver for the non-linear shallow water equations. Like other existing methods based on the initial sea level elevation, the database is independent on the faulting geometry and mechanism, which makes it applicable in any tectonic environment. We model a large set of synthetic tsunami test scenarios, selected to explore the uncertainty introduced when approximating tsunami waveforms and their maxima by fast and simplified linear combination. This is the first time to our knowledge that the uncertainty associated to such a procedure is systematically analysed and that relatively small earthquakes are considered, which may be relevant in the near-field of the source in a complex tectonic setting. We find that non-linearity of tsunami evolution affects the reconstruction of the waveforms and of their maxima by introducing an almost unbiased (centred at zero) error distribution of relatively modest extent. The uncertainty introduced by our approximation can be in principle propagated to forecast results. The resulting product then is suitable for different applications such as probabilistic tsunami hazard analysis, tsunami source inversions and tsunami warning systems.
Received: 27 Apr 2016 – Discussion started: 06 Jun 2016 – Revised: 06 Nov 2016 – Accepted: 08 Nov 2016 – Published: 06 Dec 2016