Inversion of tsunami height using ionospheric observations. The case of the 2012 Haida Gwaii tsunami

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Virgile Rakoto1, Philippe Henri Lognonne1 and Lucie Rolland2, (1)Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France, (2)GeoAzur, Valbonne, France
Large and moderate tsunamis generate atmospheric internal gravity waves that are detectable using ionospheric monitoring. Indeed tsunamis of height 2cm and more in open ocean were detected with GPS (Rolland et al. 2010). We present a new method to retrieve the tsunami height from GPS-derived Total Electron Content observations.

We present the case of the Mw 7.8 Haida Gwaii earthquake that occured the 28 october 2012 offshore the Queen Charlotte island near the canadian west coast. This event created a moderate tsunami of 4cm offshore the Hawaii archipelago. Equipped with more than 50 receivers it was possible to image the tsunami-induced ionospheric perturbation.

First, our forward model leading to the TEC perturbation follows three steps : (1) 3D modeling of the neutral atmosphere perturbation by summation of tsunami-induced gravity waves normal modes. (2) Coupling of the neutral atmosphere perturbation with the ionosphere to retrieve the electron density perturbation. (3) Integration of the electron density perturbation along each satellite-station ray path. Then we compare this results to the data acquired by the Hawaiian GPS network. Finally, we examine the possibility to invert the TEC data in order to retrieve the tsunami height and waveform. For this we investigate the link between the height of tsunamis and the perturbed TEC in the ionosphere.