Alternative approach for tsunami early warning indicated by gravity wave effects on ionosphere

Zahra Foroodi, Mahdi Alizadeh, Harald Schuh, Lung Chih Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The rapid displacement of the ocean floor during large ocean earthquakes or volcanic eruptions causes the propagation of tsunami waves on the surface of the ocean, and consequently internal gravity waves (IGWs) in the atmosphere. IGWs pierce through the troposphere and into the ionospheric layer. In addition to transferring energy to the ionosphere, they cause significant variations in ionospheric parameters, so they have considerable effects on the propagation of radio waves through this dispersive medium. In this study, double-frequency measurements of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and ionosonde data were used to determine the ionospheric disturbances and irregularities in response to the tsunami induced by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. The critical frequency of the F2 layer (foF2 ) data obtained from the ionosonde data also showed clear disturbances that were consistent with the GPS observations. IGWs and tsunami waves have similar propagation properties, and IGWs were detected about 25 min faster than tsunami waves in GPS ground stations at the United States west coast, located about 7900 km away from the tsunami’s epicenter. As IGWs have a high vertical propagation velocity, and propagate obliquely into the atmosphere, IGWs can also be used for tsunami early warning. To further investigate the spatial variation in ionospheric electron density (IED), ionospheric profiles from FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC (F3/C) satellites were investigated for both reference and observation periods. During the tsunami, the reduction in IED started from 200 km and continued up to 272 km altitude. The minimum observed reduction was 2.68 × 105 el/cm3, which has happened at 222 km altitude. The IED increased up to 767 km altitude continuously, such that the maximum increase was 3.77 × 105 el/cm3 at 355 km altitude.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2150
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Internal gravity waves
  • Ionospheric disturbances
  • Tsunami
  • Vertical coupling

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