Washom tsunami impacts on midway atoll 3 11-11 abbreviated version


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Abbreviated version of seminar provided to Scripps Insitution of Oceanography by Byron Washom on 4-6/11 on the impacts of the 3-11-11 Honshu Tsunami on Midway Atoll.

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Washom tsunami impacts on midway atoll 3 11-11 abbreviated version

  1. 1. Midway Atoll Natural Wildlife Refuge Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Impacts of Honshu Tsunami March 10-11, 2011 Byron Washom, UC San Diego Presented at Scripps Institution of Oceanography April 6, 2011
  2. 2. The oldest known free-flying bird in US, ~ 60, an albatross named “Wisdom”, hatches her chick• Advanced age may be double or triple the expected life span for a Laysan albatross,• Oldest wild specimen documented during the 90- year history of the U.S. and Canadian bird- banding research program.• She was first tagged with an identification band at ~5 in 1956 while incubating an egg.• She has logged about 3 million flying miles (4.8 million mile (~six round trips to the Moon).
  3. 3. March 10-11, 2011 Honshu Tsunami• http://freevideocoding.com/flvplayer.swf?file =http://flash.vx.roo.com/streamingVX/63056/ 1458/20110311_japan_wave_successions_sky _1000k.mp4&autostart=true
  4. 4. NOAA Animation• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9pXHlOtRTY
  5. 5. Bathymetry of Midway Atoll
  6. 6. History of Ocean Crossing Tsunamis• Few observations, despite the five great ocean-crossing tsunamis of the 20th century.• The believed highest value was at Midway in 1952, when runup reached 1.9 meters from the magnitude 9 Kamchatka earthquake, and Midway was square in the center of the radiated beam and only 3000 km from the source.• Johnston Atoll, another atoll extensively modified by dredging, where the Chile tsunami of 1960 had a runup of 0.7 meters.• Of atolls not extensively modified to handle shipping, the highest runup believed is Kiritimati in 1960, which recorded a runup of 0.3 meters. Source: Gerard Fryer at the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
  7. 7. Why should the hazard be so low?• The sea level has risen since the last glaciation, and for the last 18,000 years, coral has been growing almost vertically upwards.• As a consequence, each atoll in the Pacific has very steep upper slopes, making the island look pretty much like a spar buoy to the approaching tsunami.• Unless man has modified the atoll, runup seems to be a factor of two from the height of the tsunami on the open ocean compared to a factor of five or six for open coasts on high islands.• High islands have a tremendously reduced hazard if they have reefs• By contrast, in 1960 Hawaii saw about 3 meters on open coasts without focusing and numerous locations where runup approached 10 meters (in Hilo runup reached 11 meters and 61 people died). Source: Gerard Fryer at the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
  8. 8. Meters 0.5 1.5 0 1 2 -0.5-1 10:24 10:26 10:28 10:30 10:32 10:34 10:36 10:38 10:40 10:42 10:44 10:46 10:48 10:50 10:52 10:54 10:56 10:58 11:00 11:02 11:04 11:06 11:08 11:10 11:12 11:14 11:16 11:18 11:20 11:22 11:24 11:26 11:28 11:30 11:32 11:34 11:36 11:38 11:40 90 Minute elapsed time 11:42 11:44 NOAA Tidal Data: Midway 3-11-11 11:46 11:48 11:50 11:52 11:54
  9. 9. Estimated Loss of Life• 110,000 Albatross chicks died out of 450,000 nesting pairs, impact will be most evident in 4-5 yrs when this vintage will begin mating• 2,000 adult Albatross• Virtually all underground nesting Bonin Petrils that were located in the overwash zone• Majority of plant life where seawater inundation• The first chick from a mating pair of Short Tail Albatross survived tsunami and 2 winter storms• Minimal documented loss of marine life
  10. 10. Kure and Laysan Evacuees
  11. 11. Photo Credits to• Chris Jordan www.midwayjouney.com• Jan Vozenilek www.janvozenilek.com• Wayne Sentman http://web.mac.com/naturefinder• Peter Leary http://peteatmidway.blogspot.com/• Mike Daak www.midway-island.com• James Watt http://www.wattstock.com/• Ku`uipo Rossiter• Byron Washom bwashom@ucsd.edu
  12. 12. The End