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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-3
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-3
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 08 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 08 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Meteotsunami occurrence in the Gulf of Finland over the past century

Havu Pellikka, Terhi K. Laurila, Hanna Boman, Anu Karjalainen, Jan-Victor Björkqvist, and Kimmo K. Kahma Havu Pellikka et al.
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. We analyse changes in meteotsunami occurrence over the past century (1922–2014) in the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea. A major challenge for studying these short-lived and local events is the limited temporal and spatial resolution of digital sea level and meteorological data. To overcome this challenge, we examine archived paper recordings from two tide gauges, Hanko for 1922–1989 and Hamina for 1928–1989, from the summer months of May–October. We visually inspect the recordings to detect rapid sea level variations, which are then digitized and compared to air pressure observations from nearby stations. The data set is complemented with events detected from digital sea level data 1990–2014 by an automated algorithm. In total, we identify 121 potential meteotsunami events. Over 70 % of the events could be confirmed to have a small jump in air pressure occurring shortly before or simultaneously with the sea level oscillations. The occurrence of meteotsunamis is strongly connected with lightning over the region: the number of cloud-to-ground flashes over the Gulf of Finland were on average over ten times higher during the days when a meteotsunami was recorded compared to days with no meteotsunamis in May–October. On a monthly level, statistically significant differences between meteotsunami months and other months were found in the number of CG flashes, convective available potential energy (CAPE), and temperature. Meteotsunami occurrence over the past century shows a statistically significant increasing trend in Hamina, but not in Hanko.

Havu Pellikka et al.

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Havu Pellikka et al.

Havu Pellikka et al.

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Latest update: 29 May 2020
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Short summary
Meteotsunamis are long waves created by atmospheric disturbances travelling over the sea, potentially hazardous in rare cases. Their occurrence in the Baltic Sea has been poorly known, which is why we examine century-long sea level records from the Gulf of Finland to identify these waves. In total, 121 potential meteotsunamis were found. The strong connection between meteotsunami occurrence and lightning observations indicates that meteotsunamis in this region occur during thunderstorms.
Meteotsunamis are long waves created by atmospheric disturbances travelling over the sea,...
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