Early warning regarding tsunamis depends on skilled interpretation of earthquake data from seismic monitors like the one at Pallekale and data from ocean based buoys that detect fast moving bodies of water.
The ocean between Sri Lanka and Thailand now has one. It is up to us to make sure that the warning that get communicated from international and regional warning centers will be communciated to the affected communities promptly and that those communities will be prepared to respond properly.
Following a ceremony in Phuket, Thailand, where the 2004 Boxing Day event caused the most extensive tsunami damage in Thailand, the MV SEAFDEC set sail today to deploy the buoy about mid-way between Thailand and Sri Lanka. NOAA scientists and engineers are onboard to provide technical assistance during the launch operations.With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NOAA built and provided the DART station on behalf of the U.S. government. The buoy will be maintained by the Thai Meteorological Department and National Disaster Warning Center. The station’s data will be available to all nations through the World Meteorological Organization Global Telecommunications System and will be part of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems.
The Thai buoy is the first of 22 tsunameters planned for the Indian Ocean’s regional tsunami warning system. NOAA will provide a second DART buoy further to the south in the spring of 2007. This is part of an end-to-end warning system that includes tide gauges, communications upgrades, modeling, and dissemination systems for five countries — Indonesia, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.