Probabilistic quantification of tsunami current hazard using statistical emulation

Devaraj Gopinathan, Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Serge Guillas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


In this paper, statistical emulation is shown to be an essential tool for the end-to-end physical and numerical modelling of local tsunami impact, i.e. from the earthquake source to tsunami velocities and heights. In order to surmount the prohibitive computational cost of running a large number of simulations, the emulator, constructed using 300 training simulations from a validated tsunami code, yields 1 million predictions. This constitutes a record for any realistic tsunami code to date, and is a leap in tsunami science since high risk but low probability hazard thresholds can be quantified. For illustrating the efficacy of emulation, we map probabilistic representations of maximum tsunami velocities and heights at around 200 locations about Karachi port. The 1 million predictions comprehensively sweep through a range of possible future tsunamis originating from the Makran Subduction Zone (MSZ). We rigorously model each step in the tsunami life cycle: first use of the three-dimensional subduction geometry Slab2 in MSZ, most refined fault segmentation in MSZ, first sediment enhancements of seabed deformation (up to 60% locally) and bespoke unstructured meshing algorithm. Owing to the synthesis of emulation and meticulous numerical modelling, we also discover substantial local variations of currents and heights.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20210180
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2250
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021


  • coastal engineering
  • hazard assessment
  • Karachi port
  • Makran subduction zone
  • sediment amplification
  • unstructured mesh

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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