Speeding up tsunami forecasting to boost tsunami warning in Chile
Despite the occurrence of several large earthquakes during the last decade, Chile continues to have a great tsunamigenic potential. This arises as a consequence of the large amount of strain accumulated along a subduction zone that runs parallel to its long coast, and a distance from the trench to the coast of no more than 100 km. These conditions make it difficult to implement real-time tsunami forecasting. Chile issues local tsunami warnings based on preliminary estimations of the hypocenter location and magnitude of the seismic sources, combined with a database of pre-computed tsunami scenarios. Finite fault modeling, however, does not provide an estimation of the slip distribution before the first tsunami wave arrival, so all pre-computed tsunami scenarios assume a uniform slip distribution. We implemented a processing scheme that minimizes this time gap by assuming an elliptical slip distribution, thereby not having to wait for the more time-consuming finite fault model computations.We then solve the linear shallow water equations to obtain a rapid estimation of the run-up distribution in the near field. Our results show that, at a certain water depth, our linear method captures most of the complexity of the run-up heights in terms of shape and amplitude when compared with a fully nonlinear tsunami model. In addition, we can estimate the run-up distribution in quasi-real-time as soon as the results of seismic finite fault modeling become available.