From Glossary of Meteorology


(Also called seismic sea wave.) Waves generated by seismic activity (e.g. earthquakes), landslides, volcanic eruptions, and very infrequently by meteorites or other impacts upon the ocean surface.

Tsunami are also popularly, but inaccurately, called tidal waves. When they reach shallow coastal regions, amplitudes may increase to several meters. The Pacific Ocean is particularly vulnerable to tsunami. Meteorological forcing can create similar wave action, more precisely referred to as a meteotsunami.


Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, 2013: Tsunami glossary. Revised ed. UNESCO IOC Tech. Series 85, 42 pp. [Available online at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001882/188226E.pdf.]

term edited 12 Dec 2014