Physical Oceanography, Vol. 18, No. 5, 2008
ANALYSIS OF THE NECESSITY AND POSSIBILITY OF TSUNAMI EARLY
WARNING ON THE BLACK-SEA COAST
S. F. Dotsenko and V. N. Eremeev
The catastrophic tsunami of December 26, 2004 in Southeast Asia revealed the necessity of
creating tsunami early warning systems in the regions of the World Ocean where these systems
are still absent but the potential hazard of tsunami generation exists. The Black Sea is one of
these regions. We present the general characteristic of the tsunami hazard in the Black-Sea regi-
on and describe the most probable zones of tsunami generation, the specific features of tsunami
propagation, and the parameters of tsunamis according to the data of observations and the results
of numerical simulations. We also discuss the possibility of tsunami early warning on the basis
of the operative data provided by the network of hydrometeorological and seismological obser-
vation stations existing in this region.
Dangerous natural hydrometeorological phenomena with serious economic losses for the Black-Sea coun-
tries are periodically observed in the Azov–Black-Sea region [1–3]. At present, the estimates of risk, as well as
the prediction of these phenomena and early warning became especially urgent due to the growth of infrastruc-
tures along the sea coasts, the development of mineral and recreational resources, the necessity of guaranteeing
the required safety of traffic streams across the Black Sea, and the support of the proper ecological conditions in
Tsunami is one of the most dangerous natural phenomena in the Black-Sea region. Tsunamis can be de-
scribed as long waves on the sea surface caused by earthquakes, submarine landslides, eruptions of volcanoes,
nuclear explosions, intense processes in the atmosphere (meteotsunamis), and other external factors . Far
from the coast, these waves have large lengths (tens and hundreds of kilometers) and small heights
thus, are not dangerous. However, the wave energy is accumulated near the coasts, in the bays, and in the estu-
aries of rivers. This leads to the formation of dangerous waves-floods.
The repeatability of tsunamis in the Black Sea and the Seas of Azov and Marmara is as low as tens and
hundreds of years, i.e., much lower than in the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean region, and Mediterranean Sea. At the
same time, the historical data do not enable us to exclude the possibility of seismic or meteorological generation
of destructive tsunamis and surges of the sea level with large amplitudes in these seas [1, 5–8].
The creation of the regional tsunami early warning systems may help to decrease the losses caused by the
abnormal oscillations of the sea level along the Black-Sea coast. The catastrophic tsunami of December 26,
2004 caused by a seaquake with magnitude M = 9.0 in the region of the Sumatra Island revealed the necessity of
creation of tsunami early warning systems in the regions of the World Ocean, where they are absent but the po-
tential hazard of the appearance of these phenomena exists. The Mediterranean and Black Seas should also be
regarded as regions of this sort. Indeed, according to the available world statistics, about 25% of the total num-
ber of tsunamis are recorded in this region.
Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol, Ukraine.
Translated from Morskoi Gidrofizicheskii Zhurnal, No.
57–66, September–October, 2008. Original article submitted April 6,
288 0928-5105/08/1805–0288 © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.