Modelling December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami: a coastal study


December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean region has been simulated using MIKE-21 HD model. The vertical displacement of the seabed is incorporated into the numerical simulation by using time-varying bathymetry data. In the open ocean, sea surface height from altimeter observation has been used to validate the model results. To the west of the rupture zone, the crest is observed to precede the trough of the tsunami waves while to the east, trough preceded the crest. The model performance along the coastal region has been validated using de-tided sea levels from tide gauge measurements at Tuticorin, Chennai, Vishakapattanam, and Paradip ports along the east coast of India. Unique coastal characteristics of the tsunami waves, wave height, and wave celerity are reasonably simulated by the numerical model. Spectral analysis of tide gauge observations and corresponding model results has been done, and the distribution of frequency peaks from the analysis of gauge observations and the model results is observed to have a reasonable comparison. Low-frequency waves, contributed from the coastally trapped edge waves, are found to dominate both the tide gauge observations and the model results. The subsequent increase in the tsunami wave height observed at Chennai, Vishakapattanam, and Paradip has been explained on the basis of coastally trapped edge waves. From the validation studies using altimeter data and tide gauge data, it is observed that the model can be used effectively to simulate the tsunami wave height in the offshore as well as in the coastal region with satisfying performance.

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We express our sincere gratitude to A. S. Kiran Kumar, Director, SAC, for approving this paper for publication. We are thankful to Dr. J. S. Parihar, Deputy Director, EPSA, for providing constant encouragement and support. We are grateful to Dr. Ajai, Group Director, MPSG, for providing the opportunity to carry out this work and overall guidance. We also thank NIO for providing the de-tided gauge data.

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Correspondence to Ratheesh Ramakrishnan.

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Ramakrishnan, R., Govind, R. & Rajawat, A.S. Modelling December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami: a coastal study. Nat Hazards 70, 789–801 (2014).

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  • Tsunami
  • Modelling
  • Indian Ocean
  • Edge waves