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Tsunami signature in the ionosphere: A simulation of OTH radar observations

Authors


Abstract

[1] In the last ten years ionospheric anomalies following major earthquakes and tsunamis have been detected. Global Positioning System (GPS) and altimeters have been proven effective for this purpose, through Total Electron Content (TEC) measurement. Most of these ionospheric anomalies are deterministic and reproducible by numerical modeling via the coupling mechanism through ocean, neutral atmosphere and ionosphere. Numerical modeling supplies also useful support in the estimation of expected ionospheric effects and in the exploration and identification of new techniques to detect ionospheric tsunami signatures. We explore here a new ground-based technique, nominally the use of over-the-horizon (OTH) radars, for tsunami detection through ionospheric monitoring. OTH radars operate in High Frequency (HF) band and sounding the bottomside ionosphere they could anticipate the detection of tsunami-driven Internal Gravity Waves (IGW). To validate this hypothesis, we use HF numerical ray-tracing to simulate synthetic OTH radar measurements through a 3D tsunami-driven IGW ionospheric model. Our simulations clearly identify the tsunami signature in the OTH radar measurements one hour and a half before the tsunami arrival on the coast. The large coverage of OTH radar and its sensitivity to plasma anomalies open new perspectives in the oceanic monitoring and future tsunami warning systems.

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