Tsunami Detection by High Frequency Radar Beyond the Continental Shelf: II. Extension of Time Correlation Algorithm and Validation on Realistic Case Studies

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In past work, tsunami detection algorithms (TDAs) have been proposed, and successfully applied to offline tsunami detection, based on analyzing tsunami currents inverted from high-frequency (HF) radar Doppler spectra. With this method, however, the detection of small and short-lived tsunami currents in the most distant radar ranges is challenging due to conflicting requirements on the Doppler spectra integration time and resolution. To circumvent this issue, in Part I of this work, we proposed an alternative TDA, referred to as time correlation (TC) TDA, that does not require inverting currents, but instead detects changes in patterns of correlations of radar signal time series measured in pairs of cells located along the main directions of tsunami propagation (predicted by geometric optics theory); such correlations can be maximized when one signal is time-shifted by the pre-computed long wave propagation time. We initially validated the TC-TDA based on numerical simulations of idealized tsunamis in a simplified geometry. Here, we further develop, extend, and apply the TC algorithm to more realistic tsunami case studies. These are performed in the area West of Vancouver Island, BC, where Ocean Networks Canada recently deployed a HF radar (in Tofino, BC), to detect tsunamis from far- and near-field sources, up to a 110 km range. Two case studies are considered, both simulated using long wave models (1) a far-field seismic, and (2) a near-field landslide, tsunami. Pending the availability of radar data, a radar signal simulator is parameterized for the Tofino HF radar characteristics, in particular its signal-to-noise ratio with range, and combined with the simulated tsunami currents to produce realistic time series of backscattered radar signal from a dense grid of cells. Numerical experiments show that the arrival of a tsunami causes a clear change in radar signal correlation patterns, even at the most distant ranges beyond the continental shelf, thus making an early tsunami detection possible with the TC-TDA. Based on these results, we discuss how the new algorithm could be combined with standard methods proposed earlier, based on a Doppler analysis, to develop a new tsunami detection system based on HF radar data, that could increase warning time. This will be the object of future work, which will be based on actual, rather than simulated, radar data.

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Pure and Applied Geophysics