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Exploring of the spatially varying completeness of a tsunami catalogue


Several tsunami record catalogues have been developed for extensive tsunami research. However, completeness analysis of tsunami catalogues, an important step in using these catalogues for tsunami research, has not received sufficient attention. This could result in many biases and incorrect results. In this study, two methods proposed are employed and applied to quantitatively, credibly, and accurately estimate the completeness of a global and regional tsunami catalogue. The results show that: (1) The tsunami runup catalogue for runup-height intervals 0.1 ~ 0.5, 0.5 ~ 1, 1 ~ 5, and 5 ~ 10 m, are complete and homogeneous since the 1950s, which coincides with the extensive development of tide-gauge technology. The catalogue for 10 ~ 20 is complete and homogeneous since the 1930s, which may be related to the end of the global economic crisis that occurred from 1928 to 1933. And the catalogue for 20 m and more is complete and homogenous since the 1890s, the beginning of the age of electricity. For runup-height heights from 0.1 to 5 m, the completeness starting time exhibits minimal variation among six regions (Europe region, Indian region, South America, North America, South Pacific, and East Asia), which is related to the rapid economic development period of the world and the establishment of tsunami warning systems. For runup-height intervals, 5 ~ 10, 10 ~ 20, and 20 ~ , the completeness starting time varies considerably among regions. The completeness starting time in the EU was earlier than that in other regions, which is related to the level of economic and political development after the Enlightenment of early Europe.

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Availability of data and material

Data used in the article was acquired from the National Centers for Environmental Information (


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This research was jointly financed by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Number 41771537), the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant Number 2017YFB0504102), and the China Scholarship Council.

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The text of this manuscript was written by Lixin Ning. The downloading and preprocessing of data is completed by Changxiu Cheng. The study of the methods used in the research was completed by Ning Lixin. The overall framework of the paper was completed by Lixin Ning, Changxiu Cheng, Ana Maria Cruz, and Emmanuel Garnier. All authors contributed to the direction of this research as it progressed.

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Correspondence to Chang X. Cheng or Ana M. Cruz.

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Ning, L.X., Cheng, C.X., Cruz, A.M. et al. Exploring of the spatially varying completeness of a tsunami catalogue. Nat Hazards (2021).

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  • Spatial analysis
  • Tsunami
  • Statistical methods