I have been doing some research into global warming, and I was curious as to whether or not increasing the temperature of the oceans would affect tsunamis to any significant degree.

My gut tells me that adding more energy into the water would make the tsunami worse, but tsunamis are caused by earthquakes, not by heating like a hurricane. On the other hand, increasing heat would reduce the density of the water, which might make them less severe.

Would these forces actually affect the tsunami? Which one would win, or would they cancel out? Or am I completely missing something obvious?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Geology is internal forces. Hydrosphere and Atmosphere are external forces. There is no relation as every tsunami comes from rock mouvements. $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 21, 2018 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ Tsunamis can be caused by meteorites, though not as commonly as earthquakes and underwater landslides. But they're not exactly rare, either. $\endgroup$
    – BillDOe
    May 21, 2018 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ I want to change my answer. Lanslides can cause tsunamis indeed and climate can affect it. Eg La Palma Island of Canary Island. A landslide caused a tsunami registered. $\endgroup$
    – user12525
    May 22, 2018 at 7:12

1 Answer 1


Pretty confident to answer No here.

Tsunamis are caused by water displacement due to earthquakes; this has nothing to do with global warming. Any changes in density would be trivial, and although the water would have more thermal energy, this would not affect or be influenced by the kinetic energy of the Tsunami.

The only way in which a tsunami would be made more severe would be that any sea level rise due to global warming would be added to the Tsunami height.


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