Natural Hazards

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 1123–1130 | Cite as

Tsunami versus storm surge: a brief review

  • N. Nirupama
Short Communication


Tsunamis and storm surges belong to the class of long gravity waves like ocean tides and they can cause substantial coastal inundation, leading to loss of life and extensive damage. Superficially, the coastal effects from tsunamis and storm surges are quite similar, but dynamically they are very different. Tsunamis propagate through the deep oceans and strike the coastlines, whereas storm surges are only coastal phenomena and do not exist over the deeper part of the oceans. Tsunamis can affect 100–1,000 s of kilometers along the length of a coastline, whereas storm surges at most can affect few tens of kilometers along a coast. The effects of storm surges are to some degree hemisphere dependent in the sense that in the northern hemisphere, the peak surge occurs to the right side of the hurricane track and in the southern hemisphere on the left side. For tsunamis, there is no such hemispheric distinction, except the fact that most of the tsunami energy propagates in a...


Tropical Cyclone Gravity Wave Storm Surge Tsunami Wave Indian Ocean Tsunami 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Disaster and Emergency Management ProgramYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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