We describe the evolution of coastal HF radar observations of tsunamis, first proposed in 1979 and developed after the 2004 Indonesia and 2011 Japan tsunamis to allow routine monitoring to detect an approaching tsunami. Oceanographic tsunami theory is summarized, both for the fundamental equations of motion and in the ray optics and Green's Law approximations; the latter can be applied when water depths are slowly varying. Observations of the current velocities caused by the 2011 Japan tsunami off the Japanese, the US West, and Chilean coasts are described and examples are shown. These observations led to the development of an empirical tsunami detection method, which is outlined. Examples of offline tsunami detections are given and detection times are compared with arrival times at neighboring tide gauges. We describe the observation and offline detection of the June 2013 meteotsunami off the New Jersey coast using coastal radar systems and tide gauges. Methods to model and simulate tsunami velocities are described and videos of the resulting velocity/height maps are given. We describe preliminary methods for evaluating the suitability of radar sites for tsunami detection using simulated tsunami velocities. Factors affecting tsunami detectability are discussed and methods are described for the alleviation of false alarms.
Part of the book: Tsunami