Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 168, Issue 6–7, pp 1199–1222 | Cite as

Validation and Verification of a Numerical Model for Tsunami Propagation and Runup



A robust numerical model to simulate propagation and runup of tsunami waves in the framework of non-linear shallow water theory is developed. The numerical code adopts a staggered leapfrog finite-difference scheme to solve the shallow water equations formulated for depth-averaged water fluxes in spherical coordinates. A temporal position of the shoreline is calculated using a free-surface moving boundary algorithm. For large scale problems, the developed algorithm is efficiently parallelized employing a domain decomposition technique. The developed numerical model is benchmarked in an exhaustive series of tests suggested by NOAA. We conducted analytical and laboratory benchmarking for the cases of solitary wave runup on simple beaches, runup of a solitary wave on a conically-shaped island, and the runup in the Monai Valley, Okushiri Island, Japan, during the 1993 Hokkaido-Nansei-Oki tsunami. In all conducted tests the calculated numerical solution is within an accuracy recommended by NOAA standards. We summarize results of numerical benchmarking of the model, its strengths and limits with regards to reproduction of fundamental features of coastal inundation, and also illustrate some possible improvements.


Numerical modeling tsunami inundation 



We would like to thank C.E. Synolakis, V.V. Titov, J. Stroh and others for all their valuable advice, critique and reassurances along the way. We are thankful to reviewers and the editor for valuable suggestions making the manuscript easier to read and understand. This study was supported by NOAA grants 27-014d and 06-028a through Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research. Numerical calculations for this work are supported by a grant of High Performance Computing resources from the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks as part of the US Department of Defense HPC Modernization Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Nicolsky
    • 1
  • E. N. Suleimani
    • 1
  • R. A. Hansen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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