Expert Commentary

Tsunami data supports forecast, warning, research and mitigation

2008 chapter from Tsunami Science Four Years After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami measuring the action taken on a Tsunami activity database.

Following the destructive 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the United States Tsunami Warning and Education Act was signed December 2006. Among other things, the act called for broadening of the global historical tsunami database to include data on coastal water levels, damage reports and deep-water changes.

A chapter from the 2008 publication Tsunami Science Four Years After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, “Long-Term Tsunami Data Archive Supports Tsunami Forecast, Warning, Research and Mitigation,” reviewed the progress made by both the National Geophysical Data Center and the World Data Center in supporting this research.

The highlights include:

  • The data collected in the archive supports and informs the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration tsunami warning program. Furthermore the data helps continually update international models that track the movement of tsunamis through open water after an earthquake.
  • In 2005 the long-term tsunami data archive was expanded to include data from the Deep Ocean stations Reporting Tsunamis (known as DARTs). When these DARTS detect an event, they immediately send real-time data at 15-second increments. Filtered data from deepwater events since 1983 are available in the archives.
  • The data is publically available in real time at

In the aftermath of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the public, real-time nature of this archive presents opportunities for researchers to contribute to future policy options through a deeper understanding of previous tsunami events.

Tags: disasters, safety, Asia, oceans

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