Natural Hazards

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 19–39 | Cite as

The Pattern Method for incorporating tidal uncertainty into probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment (PTHA)

  • Loyce M. Adams
  • Randall J. LeVeque
  • Frank I. González
Original Paper


In this paper, we describe a general framework for incorporating tidal uncertainty into probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment and propose the Pattern Method and a simpler special case called the \(\Delta t\) Method as effective approaches. The general framework also covers the method developed by Mofjeld et al. (J Atmos Ocean Technol 24(1):117–123, 2007) that was used for the 2009 Seaside, Oregon probabilistic study by González et al. (J Geophys Res 114(C11):023, 2009). We show that the Pattern Method is superior to past approaches because it takes advantage of our ability to run the tsunami simulation at multiple tide stages and uses the time history of flow depth at strategic gauge locations to infer the temporal pattern of waves that is unique to each tsunami source. Combining these patterns with knowledge of the tide cycle at a particular location improves the ability to estimate the probability that a wave will arrive at a time when the tidal stage is sufficiently large that a quantity of interest such as the maximum flow depth exceeds a specified level. Python scripts to accompany this paper are available at DOI  10.5281/zenodo.12406.


PTHA Hazard curves 100-yr flood GeoClaw  Probabilistic tidal uncertainty 

Mathematics Subject Classification




This work was done as a Pilot Study funded by BakerAECOM. Partial funding was also provided by NSF Grants DMS-0914942 and DMS-1216732 of the second author and involvement of the second and third authors in NSF Hazards SEES project EAR-1331412.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loyce M. Adams
    • 1
  • Randall J. LeVeque
    • 1
  • Frank I. González
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied MathematicsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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