Calibration of a real-time tsunami detection algorithm for sites with no instrumental tsunami records: application to coastal tide-gauge stations in eastern Sicily, Italy
Coastal tide gauges play a very important role in a tsunami warning system, since sea-level data are needed for a correct evaluation of the tsunami threat, and the tsunami arrival has to be recognized as early as possible. Real-time tsunami detection algorithms serve this purpose. For an efficient detection, they have to be calibrated and adapted to the specific local characteristics of the site where they are installed, which is easily done when the station has recorded a sufficiently large number of tsunamis. In this case the recorded database can be used to select the best set of parameters enhancing the discrimination power of the algorithm and minimizing the detection time. This chance is however rare, since most of the coastal tide-gauge stations, either historical or of new installation, have recorded only a few tsunamis in their lifetimes, if any. In this case calibration must be carried out by using synthetic tsunami signals, which poses the problem of how to generate them and how to use them. This paper investigates this issue and proposes a calibration approach by using as an example a specific case, which is the calibration of a real-time detection algorithm called TEDA (Tsunami Early Detection Algorithm) for two stations (namely Tremestieri and Catania) in eastern Sicily, Italy, which were recently installed in the frame of the Italian project TSUNET, aiming at improving the tsunami monitoring capacity in a region that is one of the most hazardous tsunami areas of Italy and of the Mediterranean.