EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Machine Learning and Microseism as a Tool for Sea Wave Monitoring

Flavio Cannavo'1, Vittorio Minio2, Susanna Saitta3, Salvatore Alparone1, Alfio Marco Borzì2, Andrea Cannata1,2, Giuseppe Ciraolo4, Danilo Contrafatto1, Sebastiano D’Amico5, Giuseppe Di Grazia1, and Graziano Larocca1
Flavio Cannavo' et al.
  • 1INGV - Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Catania, Catania, Italy (
  • 2Università di Catania, Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, Italy
  • 3Università di Catania, Dipartimento di Informatica, Italy
  • 4Università di Palermo, Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Italy
  • 5University of Malta, Department of Geosciences, Msida, Malta

Monitoring the state of the sea is a fundamental task for economic activities in the coastal zone, such as transport, tourism and infrastructure design. In recent years, regular wave height monitoring for marine risk assessment and mitigation has become unavoidable as global warming impacts in more intense and frequent swells.
In particular, the Mediterranean Sea has been considered as one of the most responsive regions to global warming, which may promote the intensification of hazardous natural phenomena as strong winds, heavy precipitation and high sea waves. Because of the high density population along the Mediterranean coastlines, heavy swells could have major socio-economic consequences. To reduce the impacts of such scenarios, the development of more advanced monitoring systems of the sea state becomes necessary.
In the last decade, it has been demonstrated how seismometers can be used to measure sea conditions by exploiting the characteristics of a part of the seismic signal called microseism. Microseism is the continuous seismic signal recorded in the frequency band of 0.05 and 0.4 Hz that is likely generated by interactions of sea waves together and with seafloor or shorelines.
In this work, in the framework of i-WaveNET INTERREG project, we performed a regression analysis to develop a model capable of predicting the sea state in the Sicily Channel (Italy) using microseism, acquired by onshore instruments installed in Sicily and Malta. Considering the complexity of the relationship between spatial sea wave height data and seismic data measured at individual stations, we used supervised machine learning (ML) techniques to develop the prediction model. As input data we used the hourly Root Mean Squared (RMS) amplitude of the seismic signal recorded by 14 broadband stations, along the three components, and in different frequency bands, during 2018 - 2021. These stations, belonging to the permanent seismic networks managed by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology INGV and the Department of Geosciences of the University of Malta, consist of three-component broadband seismometers that record at a sampling frequency of 100 Hz.
As for the target, the significant sea wave height data from Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) for the same period were used. Such data is the hindcast product of the Mediterranean Sea Waves forecasting system, with hourly temporal resolution and 1/24° spatial resolution. After a feature selection step, we compared three different kinds of ML algorithms for regression: K-Nearest-Neighbors (KNN), Random Forest (RF) and Light Gradient Boosting (LGB). The hyperparameters were tuned by using a grid-search algorithm, and the best models were selected by cross-validation.  Different metrics, such as MAE, R2 and RMSE, were considered to evaluate the generalization capabilities of the models and special attention was paid to evaluate the predictive ability of the models for extreme wave height values.
Results show model predictive capabilities good enough to develop a sea monitoring system to complement the systems currently in use.

How to cite: Cannavo', F., Minio, V., Saitta, S., Alparone, S., Borzì, A. M., Cannata, A., Ciraolo, G., Contrafatto, D., D’Amico, S., Di Grazia, G., and Larocca, G.: Machine Learning and Microseism as a Tool for Sea Wave Monitoring, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-7492,, 2023.