Tsunamis are huge tidal waves that originate miles off the coast and can cause serious damage to any country in their path. These waves can also be classified as huge masses of water with a tremendous amount of momentum and velocity, the elements of which are defined by the formula V=(2*D)^(½). There are a couple of events that can lead to a tsunami, but the most frequent cause is earthquakes.
The connection to climate change is sea level rise. The amount of water in oceans and waterways have increased because of the melting polar ice and glaciers. That means there is more water adding to an already forceful and destructive tsunami.
Earthquakes are the most common cause of tsunamis because the earth’s lithosphere – including the ocean floor – is made up of plates that are constantly moving and coming into contact with other plates. When these plates slide past each other, they get “stuck” in an area at the subduction zone. At this zone, energy gets backed up and slowly starts to accumulate until it ruptures; after it ruptures, all the energy that was stored in that area is forcibly released in and causes a disturbance in the water. Close to the epicenter at which the energy ruptured, the waves move at an incredible speed. As they get closer and closer to a land mass, the waves slow down but gain height. Some tsunamis can reach heights of around 90 feet and cause an immense amount of damage to the surrounding area. These tsunamis can reach land from the epicenter of the earthquake in a short period of time.
Tsunamis have devastating impacts on the countries they hit. For example, there was a tsunami that hit South Asia and Eastern Africa on December 24, 2004 which killed about 31,187 people and injured 23,189. Not only can they take the lives of people, tsunamis can also cause a lot of damage to the surrounding area. With the deaths of thousands of people and the destruction of buildings and other properties comes the cost of repairing damages and helping the injured. It would be difficult for a developing country to try and function after a natural disaster hits; this is why it takes developing countries longer to bounce back than developed countries like Japan or the U.S.