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stylized view of Dutch Harbor, AK DEM  

NOAA Tsunami Inundation Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)


image of DEM locations

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) builds high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) of select U.S. coastal regions. These integrated bathymetric-topographic DEMs are used to support tsunami forecasting and modeling efforts at the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL). The DEMs are part of the tsunami forecast system SIFT (Short-term Inundation Forecasting for Tsunamis) currently being developed by PMEL for the NOAA Tsunami Warning Centers, and are used in the MOST (Method of Splitting Tsunami) model developed by PMEL to simulate tsunami generation, propagation, and inundation.

Bathymetric, topographic, and shoreline data used in DEM compilation are obtained from various sources, including NCEI, the U.S. National Ocean Service (NOS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other federal, state, and local government agencies, academic institutions, and private companies. DEMs are referenced to a vertical tidal datum of North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) or Mean High Water (MHW) and horizontal datum of World Geodetic System of 1984 (WGS 84). Cell size ranges from 1/3 arc-second (~10 meters) to 36 arc-seconds (~1 km).

How to Cite DEMs:

For each DEM, cite the accompanying DEM Development Report.


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 Related Data at NCEI:

Bathymetry & Relief
Marine Geology & Geophysics
Tsunamis & Tides

 Related External Sites:

NOAA Center for Tsunami Research
NOAA Tsunami Warning Centers
NOAA VDatum National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program