ICCE 2016 Cover Image


wave directivity
numerical modeling

How to Cite

Ayca, A., Lynett, P. J., & Wilson, R. (2017). EFFECTS OF TIDE AND WAVE DIRECTIONALITY ON LOCALIZED TSUNAMI-INDUCED CURRENTS IN PORT AND HARBORS. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(35), currents.8. https://doi.org/10.9753/icce.v35.currents.8


Here, we present the results of a numerical modeling study to investigate how the maxima of the tsunami-induced currents vary due to dynamic effects of tides and wave directivity. A sensitivity analyses was conducted in three harbors by coupling the tsunami with the tide signal at twelve different tide levels. We find that tsunami-tide interaction can change the maximum current speed experienced in a harbor by up to 25% for the events and harbors studied, and that this effect is highly site-specific. To evaluate the effect of wave directionality on maximum currents, three earthquakes with different magnitudes were devised along the Pacific, which were also tuned to create the same maximum near-harbor amplitude. Our analysis also shows that, for the harbor and sources examined, the effect of offshore directionality and tsunami frequency content has a very weak effect on the maximum currents experienced in the harbor. The much more important dependency on maximum currents is on the near-harbor amplitude of the wave, indicating that currents in a harbor from a tsunami generated by a large far-field earthquake may be reasonably well predicted with only information about the predicted local tsunami amplitude. This study was motivated by the hope of constructing a basis for understanding the dynamic effects of tides and wave directivity on current-based tsunami hazards in a coastal zone by the application of numerical simulation tools for hazard mapping purposes. The consideration of these aspects is crucial and yet challenging in the modeling of tsunami currents.


Admire, A. R., L. A. Dengler, G. B. Crawford, B. U. Uslu, J. Borrero, S. D. Greer, and R. I. Wilson (2014), Observed and modeled currents from the Tohoku-oki, Japan and other recent tsunamis in northern California, Pure Appl. Geophys.,

Borrero J. C., Goring D. G., Greer S. D., Power W. L., 2015 Far-field tsunami hazard in New Zealand ports. Pure Appl. Geophys. 172, 731-756, doi:10.1007/s00024-014-0987-4.

Cheung, Kwok Fai, Yefei Bai, and Yoshiki Yamazaki. "Surges around the Hawaiian Islands from the 2011 Tohoku tsunami." Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 118.10 (2013): 5703-5719, doi: 10.1002/jgrc.20413

Dean, R.G., and Dalrymple, R. A., (1991) Water wave mechanics for engineers and scientists. World Scientific, Advanced Series on Ocean Engineering, Prentice-Hall.

Dengler, L.A., B. Uslu, A. Barberopoulou, J. C. Borrero, and C. Synolakis, (2008), The Vulnerability of Crescent City, California, to Tsunamis Generated by Earthquakes in the Kuril Islands Region of the Northwestern Pacific, Seismological Research Letters, 79(5), 608-619, doi: 10.1785/gssrl.79.5.608

Dengler, L.A. and Uslu, B. (2011), Effects of harbor modifications on Crescent City, California's tsunami vulnerability, Pure Appl. Geophys. 168 (6-7), 1175-1195, doi: 10.1007/s00024-010-0224-8

Gica, E., M. Spillane, V.V. Titov, C. Chamberlin, and J.C. Newman (2008): Development of the forecast propagation database for NOAA's Short-term Inundation Forecast for Tsunamis (SIFT). NOAA Tech. Memo. OAR PMEL-139, 89 pp, (pdf version)

Kowalik, Z., A. Proshutinsky, Tsunami-tide interactions: A Cook Inlet case study, Continental Shelf Research, 30(6), 633-642, doi:/10.1016/j.csr.2009.10.004.

Lacy, Jessica R., David M. Rubin, and Daniel Buscombe. "Currents, drag, and sediment transport induced by a tsunami." Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 117.C9 (2012), doi: 10.1029/2012JC007954

Lee, H. S., Shimoyama, T., Popinet, S., (2015), Impacts of tides on tsunami propagation due to potential Nankai Trough earthquakes in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120, 6865-6883, doi: 10.1002/2015JC010995.

Lynett, P. J., J. Borrero, R. Weiss, S. Son, D. Greer, and W. Renteria (2012), Observations and modeling of tsunami-induced currents in ports and harbors, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 327-328, 68-74, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.02.002

Lynett, P. J., J. Borrero, S. Son, R. Wilson, and K. Miller (2014), Assessment of the tsunami-induced current hazard, Geophys. Res. Lett, 41, 2048-2055, doi: 10.1002/2013GL058680.

Mofjeld, H. O., F. I. González, E. N. Bernard and J. C. Newman, (2000), Forecasting the Heights of Later Waves in Pacific-Wide Tsunamis. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 24, 117-123, doi:10.1175/JTECH1955.1.

Mofjeld, H. O., F. I. González, V. V. Titov, A. J. Venturato and J. C. Newman, (2007), Effects of Tides on Maximum Tsunami Wave Heights: Natural Hazards, 22(1), 71-89, doi:10.1023/A%3A1008198901542.

Shelby, M., Grilli, S. T., Grilli, A. R., (2016), Tsunami hazard assessment in the Hudson River Estuary based on dynamic tsunami tide simulations. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 39 pps., doi: 10.1007/s00024-016-1315-y

Titov, V. and C. Synolakis, (1995), Modeling of Breaking and Nonbreaking Long-Wave Evolution and Runup Using VTCS-2, J. Waterway, Port, Coastal, Ocean Eng., 121 (6), 308-316, doi:10.1061:(ASCE)0733-950X(1995)121/6(308).

Titov, V. and C. Synolakis, (1998), Numerical Modeling of Tidal Wave Run-up, J. Waterway, Port, Coastal, Ocean Eng., 124(4), 157-171, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-950X(1998)124:4(157)

Wilson, R., C. Davenport, and B. Jaffe (2012), Sediment scour and deposition within harbors in California (USA), caused by the March 11, 2011 Tohoku-oki Tsunami, Sediment. Geol., 282, 228-240, doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2012.06.001.

Wilson, R. I., et al. (2013), Observations and impacts from the 2010 Chilean and 2011 Japanese tsunami in California (USA), Pure Appl. Geophys., 170, 1127-1147, doi:10.1007/s00024-012-0527-z.

Zhang, Y. J., R. C. Witter, and G. R. Priest (2011), Tsunami-Tide Interaction in 1964 Prince William Sound Tsunami, Ocean Modelling (40), 246-259, doi:/10.1016/j.ocemod.2011.09.005

Authors retain copyright and grant the Proceedings right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this Proceedings.