Tide−Tsunami Interaction in Columbia River, as Implied by Historical Data and Numerical Simulations
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The East Japan tsunami of 11 March 2011 propagated more than 100 km upstream in the Columbia River. Visual analysis of its records along the river suggests that the tsunami propagation was strongly affected by tidal conditions. A numerical model of the lower Columbia River populated with tides and a downstream current was developed. Simulations of the East Japan tsunami propagating up the tidal river reproduced the observed features of tsunami waveform transformation, which did not emerge in simulations of the same wave propagating in a quiescent-state river. This allows us to clearly attribute those features to nonlinear interaction with the tidal river environment. The simulation also points to possible amplification of a tsunami wave crest propagating right after the high tide, previously deduced from the recordings of the 1964 Alaska tsunami in the river.
KeywordsTide tsunami nonlinear interaction numerical modeling Columbia River
This work was supported by the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO, University of Washington) under NOAA Cooperative Agreement No. NA10OAR4320148, Contribution #1889 (JISAO), #3775 (Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA). The study was originally motivated by the Workshop on Tsunami Hydrodynamics in a Large River held at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 15–16 August 2011 (http://www.isec.nacse.org/workshop/2011_orst/agenda.html). Columbia River bathymetry was provided by Dr. Joseph Zhang (Oregon Health and Science University) and Prof. Harry Yeh (Oregon State University) as part of the workshop materials. Beaver tide gauge record is courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon Water Science Center (http://www.or.water.usgs.gov/). Gauge records at other Columbia River locations used in this work have been obtained from the NOAA/NOS/CO-OPS public website (http://www.tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/). DART record was obtained from NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center public website (http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/dart.shtml). Sincere thanks to Sandra Bigley (PMEL), Jean Newman (PMEL), and Stewart Allen (Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research) for language-editing the manuscript.
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