Regions At High Risk Of Tsunamis Change Over Time: Report

Based on tsunami data spanning 400 years, it’s clear that modern tsunami risk regions differ from historical evidence.

AsianScientist (Nov. 9, 2016) – To commemorate World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5, scientists in Japan have compiled a report featuring a global tsunami hazard assessment, based on data collected over 400 years.

A tsunami is a low-frequency, high-impact natural disaster. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2011 Great Eastern Japan tsunami both caused large numbers of fatalities and damage to wide areas. The high impact of tsunamis is why it is so important to understand tsunami hazards on a global scale, including regions that are not considered tsunami-prone.

Titled A Global Assessment of Tsunami Hazards Over the Last 400 Years, the report is drawn from vast experiences of past tsunamis, such as the one triggered by the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.

The report was put together by scientists from Tohoku University’s International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), who have been performing research related to tsunami numerical simulation techniques. Their collaborators were Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd., Esri Japan Corporation, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd., and Willis Research Network.

In the report, numerical models for tsunami generation and propagation were created based on 94 earthquake fault models from around the world, over a 400-year time frame. The models were calculated on simulations of tsunami amplitude (height of the wave above sea level), fluid force and the arrival time of the tsunami.

By comparing data of maximum amplitude simulations from tsunami that occurred over the last 40-50 years (1970-2016) to those that took place over a period of 400 years, it’s clear that what are now considered to be tsunami risk regions, differ from historical evidence. While the most damaging tsunami between 1970-2016 occurred in the Indian Ocean and East Japan regions, prior to this, dating back to 1600, tsunamis were shown to have occurred all over the world, especially along the Pacific Rim.


Source: Tohoku University.
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