The coastal area is home to over a billion people. Sea level rise is already affecting its inhabitants and increases the chance of flooding during high tides and storm surges. A new study led by Associate Professor Tina Dura and Professor Robert Weiss of the Department of Earth Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic University showed that sea level rise in the future will affect the height of a distant tsunami.
They appear as a result of earthquakes that have occurred far from a certain settlement. As you know, the oceanic ridges are very weak in protecting the coast. Most of the tsunami’s energy is carried over the ridge to the coastline. The most famous tsunami of remote origin occurred in 1960. It formed along the coast of Chile, and its waves reached the coast of Japan.
In 2013, the US Geological Survey initiated a project on remote tsunamis that occur along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone. Within its framework, experts found that an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 could cause a tsunami of a distant origin with an amplitude of about a meter in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. According to preliminary estimates, this will lead to losses of up to $ 4.2 billion.
In the new study, scientists predicted sea level rise in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach based on scenarios that take into account both low and high estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change mitigation strategies. They found that by 2100, according to forecasts of sea level rise, an earthquake with a much lower magnitude (8) could trigger a distant tsunami with an amplitude of more than a meter.
In other words, higher sea levels will make ports more vulnerable to tsunamis caused by less powerful earthquakes. Scientists note that they are worried about the results of the study – earthquakes with a magnitude of 8 are happening more and more often.
“In 50–70 years, sea levels around the world will be much higher,” the scientists explain. – The consequences of the tsunami will also be much more serious. Geologists, officials who populate coastal areas, and authors of various climate change models must take this into account. ”