Atmospheric mesoscale conditions during the Boothbay meteotsunami: a numerical sensitivity study using a high-resolution mesoscale model

  • Kristian HorvathEmail author
  • Ivica Vilibić
Original Paper


The article aims to test the sensitivity of high-resolution mesoscale atmospheric model to fairly reproduce atmospheric processes that were present during the Boothbay Harbor meteotsunami on 28 October 2008. The simulations were performed by the Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF) model at 1-km horizontal grid spacing by varying initial conditions (ICs) and lateral boundary conditions (LBCs), nesting strategy, simulation lead time and microphysics and convective parameterizations. It seems that the simulations that used higher-resolution IC and LBC were more successful in reproduction of precipitation zone and surface pressure oscillations caused by internal gravity waves observed during the event. The results were very sensitive to the simulation lead time and to the choice of convective parameterization, while the choice of microphysics parameterization and the type of nesting strategy (one-way or two-way) was less important for reproducibility of the event. The success of the WRF model appears limited to very short-range forecasting, most advanced parameterizations, and very high-resolution grid spacing; therefore, the applicability of present atmospheric mesoscale models to future operational meteotsunami warning systems still has a lot of room for improvements.


Mesoscale atmospheric model Sensitivity study Boothbay meteotsunami 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



We would like to thank NOAA and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, in particular John Jensenius and Linda Mangum, who provided us with the data observed at GoMOOS/NERACOOS buoys during the event ( Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service accounted for the provision of computational resources for numerical simulations. This work was performed within the NOAA/NWS project “Towards a meteotsunami warning system along the US coastline (TMEWS)”, Award No. NA11NWS4670005. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for comments and suggestions that improved the manuscript.


  1. Belušić D, Strelec-Mahović N (2009) Detecting and following atmospheric disturbances with a potential to generate meteotsunamis in the Adriatic. Phys Chem Earth 34:918–927CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Belušić D, Grisogono B, Klaić ZB (2007) Atmospheric origin of the devastating coupled air–sea event in the east Adriatic. J Geophys Res 112:D17111. doi: 10.1029/2006JD008204 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen F, Dudhia J (2001) Coupling an advanced land surface-hydrology model with the Penn State-NCAR MM5 modeling system. Part I: model implementation and sensitivity. Mon Weather Rev 129:569–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dudhia J (1989) Numerical study of convection observed during the winter monsoon experiment using a mesoscale two-dimensional model. J Atmos Sci 46:3077–3107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ek MB, Mitchell KE, Lin Y, Rogers E, Grunmann P, Koren V, Gayno G, Tarpley JD (2003) Implementation of Noah land surface model advances in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction operational mesoscale Eta model. J Geophys Res 108(D22):8851. doi: 10.1029/2002JD003296 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gilland EK, Rowe CM (2012) A comparison of cumulus parameterization schemes in the WRF model. In: 2012 AMS annual meeting, P2.16.
  7. Hibiya T, Kajiura K (1982) Origin of the Abiki phenomenon (a kind of seiche) in Nagasaki Bay. J Oceanogr Soc Jpn 38:172–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Janjić ZI (2001) Nonsingular implementation of the Mellor–Yamada Level 2.5 scheme in the NCEP meso model. NCEP office note no. 437Google Scholar
  9. Jansà A, Monserrat S, Gomis D (2007) The rissaga of 15 June 2006 in Ciutadella (Menorca), a meteorological tsunami. Adv Geosci 12:1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Laprise R (1992) The Euler equations of motion with hydrostatic-pressure as an independent variable. Mon Weather Rev 120:197–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mapes BE (1997) Equilibrium vs. activation control of large-scale variations of tropical deep convection. In: Smith RK (ed) The physics and parametrization of moist atmospheric convection. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 321–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mellor GL, Yamada T (1974) Hierarchy of turbulent closure models for planetary boundary-layers. J Atmos Sci 31:1791–1806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mellor GL, Yamada T (1982) Development of a turbulent closure-model for geophysical fluid problems. Rev Geophys 20:851–875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mlawer EJ, Taubman SJ, Brown PD, Iacono MJ, Clough SA (1997) Radiative transfer for inhomogeneous atmospheres: RRTM, a validated correlated-k model for the longwave. J Geophys Res 102:16663–16682. doi: 10.1029/97JD00237 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Monserrat S, Ramis C, Thorpe AJ (1991) Large-amplitude pressure oscillations in the Western Mediterranean. Geophys Res Lett 18:183–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Monserrat S, Vilibić I, Rabinovich AB (2006) Meteotsunamis: atmospherically induced destructive ocean waves in the tsunami frequency band. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 6:1035–1051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Morrison H, Thompson G, Tatarskii V (2009) Impact of Cloud microphysics on the development of trailing stratiform precipitation in a simulated squall line: comparison of one- and two-moment schemes. Mon Weather Rev 137:991–1007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Orlić M (1980) About a possible occurrence of the Proudman resonance in the Adriatic. Thalassia Jugoslavica 16(1):79–88Google Scholar
  19. Proudman J (1929) The effects on the sea of changes in atmospheric pressure. Geophys Suppl Mon Notices R Astron Soc 2(4):197–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rabinovich AB (2009) Seiches and harbour oscillations. In: Kim YC (ed) Handbook of coastal and ocean engineering. World Scientific, Singapore, pp 193–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Renault L, Vizoso G, Jansá A, Wilkin J, Tintoré J (2011) Toward the predictability of meteotsunamis in the Balearic Sea using regional nested atmosphere and ocean models. Geophys Res Lett 38:L10601. doi: 10.1029/2011GL047361 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schroeder G, Schlünzen KH (2009) Numerical dispersion of gravity waves. Mon Weather Rev 137:4344–4354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Šepić J, Vilibić I (2011) The development and implementation of a real-time meteotsunami warning network for the Adriatic Sea. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 11:83–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Šepić J, Vilibić I, Belušić D (2009) The source of the 2007 Ist meteotsunami (Adriatic Sea). J Geophys Res 114:C03016. doi: 10.1029/2008JC005092 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Šepić J, Vilibić I, Strelec Mahović N (2012) Northern Adriatic meteorological tsunamis: observations, link to the atmosphere, and predictability. J Geophys Res 117:C02002. doi: 10.1029/2011JC007608 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Skamarock WC (2004) Evaluating mesoscale NWP models using kinetic energy spectra. Mon Weather Rev 132:3019–3032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Skamarock WC, Klemp JB (2008) A time-split nonhydrostatic atmospheric model for weather research and forecasting applications. J Comput Phys 227:3465–3485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stensrud DJ (2007) Parametrization schemes: keys to understanding numerical weather prediction models. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tanaka K (2010) Atmospheric pressure-wave bands around a cold front resulted in a meteotsunami in the East China Sea in February 2009. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 10:2599–2610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vilibić I (2008) Numerical simulations of the Proudman resonance. Cont Shelf Res 28:574–581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Vilibić I, Horvath K, Strelec Mahović N, Monserrat S, Marcos M, Amores Á, Fine I (2014) Atmospheric processes responsible for generation of the 2008 Boothbay meteotsunami. Nat Hazards. doi: 10.1007/s11069-013-0811-y. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Meteorological and Hydrological ServiceZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Institute of Oceanography and FisheriesSplitCroatia

Personalised recommendations