Weather Science: Meteotsunami – CBS Detroit
meteorological tsunami. You may have never heard the term. It’s a weather-related phenomenon that’s happening all over the world, and it’s happening here in the Great Lakes as well. Meteorological phenomena such as fast-moving thunderstorms, squall lines, and derechos can provide the right factors to trigger meteotsunamis.
Bryan Mroczka, a physical scientist at the Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory, said: Thunderstorm winds and accompanying changes in air pressure produce a very similar phenomenon. So, with the right conditions and the right wind and the right set-up, that thunderstorm will push a wave in front of it. “
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Professor Eric Anderson of the Colorado School of Mines added: But certainly there are hotspots, mainly southern Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. And it really has to do with both the shape of the lake, the depth of the lake, and the kind of weather you get at the southern end of the Great Lakes. “
Lake Michigan’s latest significant meteotsunami hit Ludington, Michigan on April 13, 2018. That meteotsunami actually sparked ongoing research.
Bryan Morczka said, “We’re starting to have a clearer picture of what it takes to make this happen. So we’re looking at whether this rising water level, this change in pressure, this change in wind is starting to happen here. We’ve started putting out some buoys to help detect, and if we detect that rising water level, it could take up to an hour, half an hour, and we know it’s coming. That might be enough time to keep people off the coast.”
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And that meteotsunami buoy is in the southern basin of Lake Michigan.
Engineer Kyle Beadle said: Go back and give a rough estimate of whether there is a meteotsunami. “
If there is a certain threshold pressure change, the instrument will start scanning faster, collecting more data, such as how fast you are moving and when you need to reach shore. Scientists at the Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are busy collecting data on this type of weather phenomenon.
Observational systems researcher Steve Luberg at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Institute said: , is some kind of forecasting system to warn people about these rare events in the Great Lakes. “
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Weather tsunamis come in many sizes and can be dangerous. So always check the weather forecast and always be prepared for the weather. For weather science, it’s meteorologist Kylie Miller.