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A high-amplitude atmospheric inertia–gravity wave-induced meteotsunami in Lake Michigan


On Friday, April 13, 2018, a high-amplitude atmospheric inertia–gravity wave packet with surface pressure perturbations exceeding 10 mbar crossed the lake at a propagation speed that neared the long-wave gravity speed of the lake, likely producing Proudman resonance. A set of meteotsunami waves struck the shores near Ludington, Michigan, a coastal community along the sandy dunes of Lake Michigan. During the event, harbor walls were overtopped, damage occurred to shoreline homes and boat docks, and water intake pumps were impacted due to the large change in water level. To fully understand the generation of this event and the impacts to the coastal community, we have carried out atmospheric and hydrodynamic model simulations of the inertia–gravity and meteotsunami waves. Atmospheric simulation of the inertia–gravity waves was performed using a high-resolution model for the Great Lakes region that mimics the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration High-Resolution Rapid Refresh operational model. Surface meteorological conditions were supplied to the Lake Michigan-Huron Operational Forecast System, an operational model used for hydrodynamic forecast guidance. This is the first documented case of a meteotsunami generated by an atmospheric inertia–gravity wave in the Great Lakes, and it provides an evaluation of existing and proposed operational infrastructure as it pertains to meteotsunami forecasting in the USA.

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Data availability

Water level and meteorological data are available from LMHOFS model input and output are available from

Code availability

FVCOM code is available from WRF code is available from


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This is GLERL publication number 1956.

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EA and GM conceived of and wrote the manuscript. GM completed the atmospheric simulations. EA completed the hydrodynamic simulations. EA and GM analyzed model results.

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Correspondence to Eric J. Anderson.

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Anderson, E.J., Mann, G.E. A high-amplitude atmospheric inertia–gravity wave-induced meteotsunami in Lake Michigan. Nat Hazards 106, 1489–1501 (2021).

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  • Great Lakes
  • Meteotsunami
  • Gravity wave
  • Hydrodynamic
  • Lake Michigan