The threat of rising sea levels to coastal cities and communities throughout the world is well known, but new findings show the likely increase of flooding farther inland from tsunamis following earthquakes. Think of the tsunami that devasted a portion of northern Japan after the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake, causing a nuclear plant to melt down and spread radioactive contamination.
These findings are at the center of a new Science Advances study, headed by a multi-university team of scientists from the Earth Observatory of Singapore, the Asian School of the Environment at Nanyang Technological University, and National Taiwan University, with critical support from Virginia Tech’s Robert Weiss, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences, part of the College of Science.
“Our research shows that sea-level rise can significantly increase the tsunami hazard, which means that smaller tsunamis in the future can have the same adverse impacts as big tsunamis would today,” Weiss said, adding that smaller tsunamis generated by earthquakes with smaller magnitudes occur frequently and regularly around the world. For the study, Weiss was critical in helping create computational models and data analytics frameworks.