Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Meteotsunamis triggered by tropical cyclones

February 3, 2020

Tropical cyclones are one of the most destructive natural hazards and much of the damage and casualties they cause are flood-related. Accurate characterization and prediction of total water levels during extreme storms is necessary to minimize coastal impacts. While meteotsunamis are known to influence water levels and to produce severe consequences, they have been disregarded during tropical cyclones. This study demonstrates that meteotsunami waves commonly occur during tropical cyclones, and that they can significantly contribute to total water levels. We have discovered that the most extreme meteotsunami events were triggered by inherent features of the structure of tropical cyclones: inner and outer spiral rainbands. While outer distant spiral rainbands produced single-peak meteotsunami waves, inner spiral rainbands triggered longer lasting (~12 hours) wave trains on the front side of the tropical cyclones. We use an idealized coupled ocean-atmosphere-wave numerical model to analyze TC meteotsunami generation and propagation mechanisms.

Publication Year 2020
Title Meteotsunamis triggered by tropical cyclones
DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-14423-9
Authors Maitane Olabarrieta, Luming Shi, David Nolan, John C. Warner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature Communications
Index ID 70208657
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center