Freo a magnet for pressure swells

UWA oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi.
UWA oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi.

RESEARCH from the University of Western Australia has found that Fremantle is a hot spot for meteorological tsunamis.

UWA oceanographers looked at sea level data and meteorological activity in Fremantle during 2014, which shows Fremantle has one of the highest occurrences of the meteotsunamis in the world.

Oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi said 25 meteotsunamis had occurred off the Fremantle coast last year.

“Although most of the events were relatively small, several had wave heights of more than half a metre – larger than those recorded in Fremantle during the Indian Ocean Boxing Day tsunami of 2004,” he said.

“Two events we studied resulted in ships breaking moorings inside the Fremantle Port, including an incident in August 2014 where we discovered the strong force of a meteotsunami had caused a large cargo ship to hit the Fremantle Bridge, causing damage to the bridge and resulting in it being closed for two weeks.

“To put the force of these waves into perspective, a meteotsunami in June 2012 contributed to the highest-ever water level recorded in Fremantle in more than 115 years and widespread flooding along Riverside Drive and the Kwinana Freeway.”