Meteorological Tsunami

Meteotsunamis have characteristics similar to earthquake-generated tsunamis, but they are caused by air pressure disturbances often associated with fast moving weather systems, such as squall lines. 

 

These disturbances can generate waves in the ocean that travel at the same speed as the overhead weather system. Development of a meteotsunami depends on several factors such as the intensity, direction, and speed of the disturbance as it travels over a water body with a depth that enhances wave magnification.

 

Certain parts of the world are more susceptible to meteotsunamis as a result of factors such as bathymetry, coastline shape, and even nearby topography influencing the development of atmospheric gravity waves.

 

These regions have specific local names for a meteotsunami such as “abiki” (Japan) and “rissaga” (Spain), and there is even some debate as to what the official term should be. In the U.S., “meteotsunami” has become the generally accepted term.

Resource:

Fact Sheet "What is a Meteotsunami". From NOAA.

An Examination of the June 2013 East Coast Meteotsunami Captured By NOAA Observing Systems. NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 079.

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