Models help warn Oregon about tsunamis
- By Doug Beizer
- Dec 11, 2008
High-resolution computer models of Oregon’s coastline that simulate
tsunamis and floods have been developed by scientists at the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency announced Dec. 10.
managers will use the models to create evacuation and rescue plans for
potential incidents, agency officials said, adding that the digital
elevation models were developed by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data
Center and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental
Science. The models cover the Oregon coastal area from Port Orford to
the Columbia River.
The digital elevation models provide a
framework that allows scientists to forecast the magnitude and extent
of coastal flooding caused by a tsunami or storm surge with greater
accuracy than older models, NOAA said. Since 2006, scientists have
created 28 digital elevation models of U.S. coastal areas and an
additional 45 digital elevation models are planned for the future.
coastal digital elevation models are part of the U.S. Tsunami Forecast
and Warning System and the new Oregon models will assist the Oregon
Department of Geology and Mineral Industry map tsunami evacuation
zones, the agency said.
NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental
Laboratory in Seattle incorporated the models into distant tsunami
model scenarios, the agency said, adding that the scenarios simulate
offshore earthquakes, the resulting tsunami that travels across the
Pacific Ocean, and the potential floods when the tsunami reaches the
With that information, NOAA's Tsunami Warning Centers
can issue more accurate flooding forecasts if an earthquake triggers an
actual tsunami, agency officials said.
Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.