Tsunami detection system coming up; will the last mile be ready?

Posted on August 22, 2007  /  0 Comments

Second Tsunami-Detection Station To Bolster Indian Ocean System

As part of the U.S. effort, in December 2006, NOAA experts and Thai government officials put a deep-ocean assessment and reporting of tsunamis (DART) station in the Indian Ocean, halfway between Thailand and Sri Lanka. (See related article.)DART systems provide real-time tsunami detection as waves travel across open waters, and each station is linked to a satellite for real-time data transmission on global networks.

In September, under an agreement with the Indonesian government, NOAA will put a DART tsunameter at 0 degrees north, 89 degrees east, near Sumatra, and Indonesia will maintain the device. The U.S. State Department is providing nearly $1 million for DART training there.

But DARTs are only part of an all-hazards warning system. A complete end-to-end system includes tide gauges, communications systems, inundation (flooding) modeling, warning dissemination systems, and especially outreach and education to local communities — what experts call “the last kilometer” — about what to do in an emergency.

On the ocean side of the U.S. effort, NOAA, with WMO, outlined a detailed architecture for regional and national warning systems, and plans regional and national workshops in September and October.

NOAA upgraded six coastal sea-level gauges in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives and contributed seven more gauges. The stations, which are integrated into the Global Sea-Level Observing System network, transmit data at one-minute intervals via satellite.

NOAA also upgraded Global Telecommunication System connections for the Maldives and Sri Lanka, helping those nations share critical data with other Indian Ocean countries and NOAA’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) and receive such data from them.

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