Tsunami

Researchers from NASA’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Ohio State University (OSU) used satellite altimeters to observe “merging tsunamis”. The image comes from a data-based computer model that shows Tohoku-oki tsunami waves propagation. Waves peaks are depicted in red-brown, while depressions in sea surface appear in blue-green. Grayscale outlines show the location of mid-ocean ridges, peaks, and islands. Image: NASA.

Definition

A tsunami is a series of travelling waves of extremely long length and period, generated when a large volume of ocean water is rapidly displaced by a sudden displacement of the seabed. These series of waves are generated by a displacement of massive amounts of water through underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or landslides. Tsunami waves travel at very high speed across the ocean but as they begin to reach shallow water they slow down and the wave grows steeper (IRDR Glossary).

The majority of tsunami are generated by shallow large earthquakes in subduction zones. Tsunami is also known as seismic sea waves because it is most often generated by earthquakes (UNESCO).

Facts and figures

The word tsunami is derived from the Japanese word “tsu” and “nami”, meaning “Harbor” and “Wave” respectively.

The speed of tsunami waves depends on ocean depth rather than the distance from the source of the wave. Scientists can predict when a tsunami will arrive at various places by knowing the source characteristics of the earthquake that generated the tsunami and the characteristics of the seafloor along the paths to those places. When the ocean is over 19,685 feet (6,000 m) deep, unnoticed tsunami waves can travel over 500 mph (804.67 kmh). One coastal community may see no damaging tsunami wave activity while in another nearby community destructive waves can be large and violent. Reefs, bays, entrances to rivers, undersea features and the slope of the beach help to modify the tsunami as it approaches the coastline (NOAA).

Dependent on the distance of the tsunami from its source, it may be classified as a:

  • Local/near field tsunami A tsunami from a nearby source for which its destructive effects are confined to coasts less than 1 hour tsunami travel time or typically within about 100 km from its source.
  • Regional tsunami A tsunami that is capable of destruction in a particular geographic region.
  • Destructive tsunami Happens when tsunami waves become extremely large in height, they savagely attack coastlines, causing devastating property damage and loss of life. A small wave only 30 cm high in the deep ocean may grow into a much larger wave 30 m high as it sweeps over the shore.
  • Non-Destructive Tsunami Mostly happens as a result of minor earthquakes and/or other events. It can be due to the source being far away from land or the earthquake being too small to have any effect when approaching the shore. When a small tsunami comes to the shoreline it is often seen as a strong and fast-moving tide (Caribbean Tsunami Information Center).

Related content

SAM Satellite

The WorldView-1 offers a high-capacity, panchromatic imaging system which features 0.46m resolution imagery.

Operating at an altitude of 496 kilometers, WorldView-1 satellite has an average revisit time of 1.7 days and is capable of collecting up to 750,000 square kilometers (290,000 square miles) per day of half-meter imagery. The satellite is also equipped with state-of-the-art geo-location capabilities and exhibits stunning agility with rapid targeting and efficient in-track stereo collection.

WorldView-1 satellite ... read more

Launch date:
18/09/2007

TerraSAR-X is a German Earth-observation satellite. Its primary payload is an X-band radar sensor with a range of different modes of operation, allowing it to record images with different swath widths, resolutions and polarisations. TerraSAR-X thus offers space-based observation capabilities that were previously unavailable. The objective of the mission is to provide value-added SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar)... read more

Launch date:
15/06/2007

KOMPSAT-2 (Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite-2), also referred to as Arirang-2 by South Korea, has been developed by KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) to continue the observation program of the KOMPSAT-1 mission.

The main mission objectives of the KOMPSAT-2 system are to provide a surveillance of large scale disasters and its countermeasure, acquisition of independent high resolution images for GIS (Geographic Information Systems), composition of printed maps and digitized maps for domestic and overseas territories, balanced development of Korean territories, survey of natural resources, and continuation of satellite... read more

Launch date:
28/07/2006

ALOS (Advanced Land Observation Satellite) has been decommissioned. ALOS was successfully launched on January 24, 2006 from the Tanegashima Space Center.

ALOS was one of the world's largest earth observation satellites whose function is to collect global and high resolution land observation data. ALOS data was made available at conditions similar to those of ERS and Envisat missions, namely for scientific 'Category-1' use as well as commercial applications.

The ALOS (renamed "Daichi")... read more

Launch date:
24/01/2006

Today, weather satellites scan the whole Earth, meaning not a single tropical storm or severe weather system goes undetected. The early detection and warnings they provide have saved thousands of lives.
Meteosat data is of unique value to nowcasting of high impact weather in support of safety of life and property.
It has been shown to improve weather forecasts and severe weather warnings which, in turn helps limit damage to property and benefits industry e.g. transport, agriculture and energy.
Meteosat-9 provides a backup service to Meteosat-11 Full Earth scanning and a gap filling service to Meteosat-10 Rapid Scanning.

Instruments:
GERB (Geostationary Earth... read more

Launch date:
22/12/2005

Cartosat-1 satellite sensor was built by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) which is mainly intended for cartographic applications was launched by the PSLV on May 5, 2005 at Sriharikota, India.
Prior to launch, ISRO renamed the IRS-P5 spacecraft to CartoSat-1, to describe more aptly the application spectrum of its observation data. In this mission, the high resolution of the data (2.5 m GSD) is being traded at the expense... read more

Launch date:
05/05/2005

IRS-P6 is an Earth observation mission within the IRS (Indian Remote-Sensing Satellite) series of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), Bangalore, India. The overall objectives of the IRS-P6 mission (ResourceSat-1) are to provide continued remote sensing data services on an operational basis for integrated land and water resources management. IRS-P6 is the continuation of the IRS-1C/1D missions with considerably enhanced... read more

Launch date:
17/10/2003

On 26 September 2003 Nigeria launched its $13 million national satellite NigeriaSat-1 in Plesetsk, Russia under a seven-nation constellation being handled by a Russian firm, Cosmos. Nigeriasat-1 is a low earth orbit micro satellite for disaster monitoring looking spacecraft, 5-year target design life-span orbit 700km. The launching of the National Satellite, which started development in November 2001, had been postponed from July 2003 because the Russian Space Agency had to launch a military satellite during that period. NigeriaSat-1 is one of five satellites which will make up a network called the Disaster Monitoring Constellation. The other partners in the international... read more

Launch date:
27/09/2003

BNSCSat (British National Space Centre Satellite) or UK-DMC 1 is the UK component of DMC. The Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) is an international programme initially proposed in 1996 and led by SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd) from the United Kingdom, to construct a network of five affordable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) microsatellites. The objective is to provide a daily global imaging capability at medium resolution (30-40 m), in 3-4 spectral bands, for rapid-... read more

Launch date:
27/09/2003

Today, weather satellites scan the whole Earth, meaning not a single... read more

Launch date:
28/08/2002

Pages

Hazard group

Terms in the same hazard group

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.