The Institute will consist of talks, tutorials and hands-on sessions in a computer lab. Follow the navigation links for the syllabus of each course. Refinements to these syllabi are under development, based on more detailed coordination among the speakers, led by the PI.

There will be group projects, mentored by the instructors, and participants will present their projects at the end of the school. There will also be a career panel to advise participants moving into the field or starting their careers.

The courses will cover mathematical models for wave propagation in the ocean, inundation of coastal areas, atmospheric forcing and propagation of storms, and use of real bathymetry data. They will cover the numerical methods used to discretize and solve these problems by computer simulation, and also cover community codes used in the field. See the Software section.

  • The up-to-date Program is published via a Google spreadsheet, available to anyone with the link:
  • We will be using a Piazza site for questions and answers, and posting of course materials.


Keynote Lecture

Crustal Deformations Associated with Earthquakes

Prof. Sergio Barrientos

Scientific Director of the Seismological Service of the University of Chile

This lecture focuses on the origin of tsunami waves: the displacement of the terrain in the bottom of the ocean, due to a seismic event. It is important to consider the issue of tsunami generation, to have a better understanding and the bigger picture around events like the tsunami that impacted Chile in 2010. The short courses in this PASI will address in more detail the topic of tsunami wave propagation, but this lecture will give context to the phenomenon we wish to study and model.


No matter how complex the terrain, surface deformations associated with earthquakes can be well represented by modeling dislocations in elastic media.  From the first studies and examples of Reid in 1910 along the San Andreas Fault in northern California, to the superb GPS and InSAR observations of nowadays, significant progress in this field evolved from simple 2D uniform-slip models to variable-slip 3D representations of slip.

More than 90% of tsunamis in the globe are generated by elevation changes in the ocean floor,  caused by an earthquake. We will examine the cases of sea-floor deformation associated with different tectonic environments, from subduction zones, convergent margins, to extensional regimes. I will present examples of deformation associated with several recent large earthquakes, which will help us to understand the process of earthquake-driven tsunamis.


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Invited Talk

Nonlinear propagation of storm waves: infragravity wave generation and dynamics

Prof. Rodrigo Cienfuegos

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

High-energy storm waves reaching the coast often cause important damage on infrastructure and are also responsible for significant coastal erosion. Moreover, while propagating towards the shore, lower-frequency waves called infragravity waves can be forced by nonlinear energy transfers and be freely released by wave-breaking, producing higher run-ups than the ones predicted using standard formulas based solely on the characteristic incident wave height and period. In this presentation we will describe the nonlinear processes that enhance energy transfers from storm waves to lower frequency waves, and discuss about the requirements for numerical models to accurately reproduce this phenomenon. We will present experimental and numerical results to illustrate these nonlinear transformations, and discuss on several practical consequences.


Photo source: PdPhoto