A METEOTSUNAMI has struck the Spanish holiday islands of Majorca and Menorca causing widespread damage. But just what is this weather phenomenon and what causes them? We explain. What is a meteotsunami and when do they occur? Meteotsunamis are freak weather phenomenon that cause large, tsunami-like waves. They are triggered by disturbances in air pressure caused by fast-moving weather events, like thunderstorms, and are generated when rapid changes in barometric pressure cause the displacement of a body of water. Most tsunamis are geological, meaning they are triggered by vertical movement on the seabed, which can be caused by an earthquake or landslide. The difference with a meteotsunami is that they are created by the weather. A small, rapid change in atmospheric pressure – even by a few millibars – can change the sea surface elevation by a few centimetres. This elevation can go unnoticed in deep water, but in shallower water near shorelines, it can cause the sea level to rise significantly, often by several feet. How often do mini-tsunamis hit Majorca and Menorca? While uncommon, areas like Nagasaki Bay, the eastern Adriatic Sea and the western Mediterranean are particularly susceptible to meteotsunamis, mainly due to the presence of long,… Read full this story
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