Numerical Modelling of the Destructive Meteotsunami of 15 June, 2006 on the Coast of the Balearic Islands


A destructive tsunami-like event (locally known as “rissaga” waves) occurring on 15 June, 2006 in Ciutadella Harbour (Menorca, Balearic Islands) is reproduced by a numerical model forced by a travelling atmospheric disturbance. The disturbance is reconstructed from microbarograph measurements, being the only available instrumental data at the time of the event. The model is verified based on two weaker 1997 events, which were recorded by a number of bottom pressure recorders operating at that time on the Menorca shelf, in Ciutadella Inlet and adjacent Platja Gran Inlet. Both 1997 events are numerically simulated and good agreement is achieved with observations in time, frequency (including eigenfrequencies of the affected inlets) and wave heights. Subsequently the same model is applied to simulate the 2006 event. The vigorous currents with speeds up to 400 cm/s are found to occur specifically at those areas of the harbour where the most severe damage and sinking of boats had been reported. Maximum simulated sea-level heights of 2.5 m were about one half of those reported by eyewitnesses. This difference is apparently caused by quality and spatial resolution of bathymetry data. However, in general, the model is capable of reproducing the event fairly well and can probably be used for future assessment and mitigation activities on the coasts of the Balearic Islands.

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Correspondence to Ivica Vilibić.

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Vilibić, I., Monserrat, S., Rabinovich, A. et al. Numerical Modelling of the Destructive Meteotsunami of 15 June, 2006 on the Coast of the Balearic Islands. Pure appl. geophys. 165, 2169–2195 (2008).

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  • Rissaga
  • numerical modelling
  • atmosphere-ocean coupling
  • Proudman resonance
  • harbour oscillations
  • meteotsunami
  • Balearic Islands
  • Ciutadella Harbour