Comparing Differences in Tsunami Sensitivity along the Coast

Historical geological evidence shows that the coast of Washington is vulnerable to high-magnitude tsunamis. To understand the potential impacts, state and local leaders sought help developing local risk-reduction strategies.

In cooperation with the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division, the U.S. Geological Survey studied the Washington coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Determining the current land use characteristics was a critical part of data collection. For this effort NOAA’s coastal land cover data (available from the Digital Coast) was used to better understand the location and extent of developed areas, natural land, and other surface components from which vulnerability indicators could be measured and compared.

Armed with this information, the team was able to describe risks to public safety, local and state economies, and infrastructure. In turn, local policy makers and coastal managers were able to develop tsunami risk reduction strategies. (2016)

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Partners: U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division