Type of publication
Article in journal
Year of publication
Frontiers in Earth Science

Steven Gibbons, Stefano Lorito, Jorge Macías, Finn Løvholt, Jacopo Selva, Manuela Volpe, Carlos Sánchez-Linares, Andrey Babeyko, Beatriz Brizuela, Antonella Cirella, Manuel J. Castro, Marc de la Asunción, Piero Lanucara, Sylfest Glimsdal, Maria Concetta Lorenzino, Massimo Nazaria, Luca Pizzimenti, Fabrizio Romano, Antonio Scala, Roberto Tonini, José Manuel González Vida and Malte Vöge


Gibbons SJ, Lorito S, Macías J, Løvholt F, Selva J, Volpe M, Sánchez-Linares C, Babeyko A, Brizuela B, Cirella A, Castro MJ, de la Asunción M, Lanucara P, Glimsdal S, Lorenzino MC, Nazaria M, Pizzimenti L, Romano F, Scala A, Tonini R, Manuel González Vida J and Vöge M (2020) Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Analysis: High Performance Computing for Massive Scale Inundation Simulations. Front. Earth Sci. 8:591549. doi: 10.3389/feart.2020.591549

Short summary
Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Analysis (PTHA) quantifies the probability of exceeding a specified inundation intensity at a given location within a given time interval. PTHA provides scientific guidance for tsunami risk analysis and risk management, including coastal planning and early warning. Explicit computation of site-specific PTHA, with an adequate discretization of source scenarios combined with high-resolution numerical inundation modelling, has been out of reach with existing models and computing capabilities, with tens to hundreds of thousands of moderately intensive numerical simulations being required for exhaustive uncertainty quantification. In recent years, more efficient GPU-based High-Performance Computing (HPC) facilities, together with efficient GPU-optimized shallow water type models for simulating tsunami inundation, have now made local long-term hazard assessment feasible. A workflow has been developed with three main stages: 1) Site-specific source selection and discretization, 2) Efficient numerical inundation simulation for each scenario using the GPU-based Tsunami-HySEA numerical tsunami propagation and inundation model using a system of nested topo-bathymetric grids, and 3) Hazard aggregation. We apply this site-specific PTHA workflow here to Catania, Sicily, for tsunamigenic earthquake sources in the Mediterranean. We illustrate the workflows of the PTHA as implemented for High-Performance Computing applications, including preliminary simulations carried out on intermediate scale GPU clusters. We show how the local hazard analysis conducted here produces a more fine-grained assessment than is possible with a regional assessment. However, the new local PTHA indicates somewhat lower probabilities of exceedance for higher maximum inundation heights than the available regional PTHA. The local hazard analysis takes into account small-scale tsunami inundation features and non-linearity which the regional-scale assessment does not incorporate. However, the deterministic inundation simulations neglect some uncertainties stemming from the simplified source treatment and tsunami modelling that are embedded in the regional stochastic approach to inundation height estimation. Further research is needed to quantify the uncertainty associated with numerical inundation modelling and to properly propagate it onto the hazard results, to fully exploit the potential of site-specific hazard assessment based on massive simulations.