Check this, Phil.
NOAA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI
Dec. 29, 2004 - NOAA scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in
Hawaii went to work within minutes of getting a seismic signal that an
earthquake occurred off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
NOAA issued a bulletin indicating no threat of a tsunami to Hawaii, the
West Coast of North America or to other coasts in the Pacific Basin-the
area served by the existing tsunami warning system established by the
Pacific rim countries and operated by NOAA in Hawaii. (Click NOAA image
for larger view of tsunami buoy being deployed in the Pacific Ocean from
the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown. Click here for high resolution version,
which is a large file. Please credit "NOAA.")
NOAA scientists then began an effort to notify countries about the
possibility that a tsunami may have been triggered by the massive 9.0
undersea earthquake. The Pacific Basin tsunami warning system did not
detect a tsunami in the Indian Ocean since there are no buoys in place
there. Even without a way to detect whether a tsunami had formed in the
Indian Ocean, NOAA officials tried to get the message out to other
nations not a part of its Pacific warning system to alert them of the
possibility of a tsunami. However, the tsunami raced across the ocean at
speeds up to 500 mph. Below is the timeline of agency's actions once the
undersea earthquake was detected by the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning
Center in Hawaii.
(All times listed below are Hawaii Standard Time or HST.)
At 2:59 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (HST) on Christmas Day a large
earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean near Sumatra, Indonesia.
At 3:07 p.m. the resulting seismic signals received at the NOAA Pacific
Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) from stations in Australia triggered an
alarm that alerted watchstanders.
At 3:10 p.m. PTWC issued a message to other observatories in the Pacific
with its preliminary earthquake parameters.
At 3:14 p.m. PTWC issued a bulletin providing information on the
earthquake and stating there was no tsunami threat to the Pacific
nations that participate in the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific
(ITSU). These member nations are part of the UNESCO Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the International Coordination Group
for the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific (ICG/ITSU). India, Sri
Lanka and the Maldives are not part of the Pacific system.
At 4:04 p.m. PTWC issued bulletin No. 2 revising the earthquake
magnitude to 8.5. That bulletin stated no tsunami threat to the Pacific
but identified the possibility of a tsunami near the epicenter. No
additional information regarding the formation of a tsunami was
At approximately 4:30 p.m. HST PTWC attempted to contact the Australia
Met Service with no luck but were successful in contacting Australia
Emergency Management. They confirmed they were aware of the earthquake.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. Internet newswire reports of casualties in
Sri Lanka provided PTWC with the first indications of the existence of a
destructive tsunami. Indications are that the tsunami had already struck
the entire area by this time, although we have not been able to obtain
At approximately 5:45 p.m., armed with knowledge of a tsunami, PTWC
contacted the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) in Hawaii.
At approximately 5:45 p.m., PTWC received a call from a Sri Lanka Navy
Commander inquiring about the potential for further tsunami waves from
At approximately 6:00 p.m. the U.S. Ambassador in Sri Lanka called PTWC
to set up a notification system in case of big aftershock. He said they
would contact Sri Lanka Prime Minister's office for such notifications.
Continuing news reports gave increasing and more widespread casualties.
At approximately 7:25 p.m. the first reading from the Australian
National Tidal Center gauge at Cocos Island west of Australia gave a
reading of 0.5m crest-to-trough.
At 7:25 p.m. the Harvard University Seismology Department reported its
preliminary Centroid Moment Tensor solution that indicated a magnitude
At approximately 7:45 p.m. PTWC contacted the Australia Bureau of
Meteorology and advised them about the increased earthquake magnitude
and the 0.5m reading at Cocos Island, as well as the possibility of a
destructive tsunami impact on Australia's west coasts.
At approximately 8:00 p.m. PTWC re-contacted PACOM to advise of
increased earthquake magnitude and potential for further tsunami impacts
in the western Indian Ocean.
At approximately 8:15 p.m. Australia Bureau of Met called PTWC to advise
they had issued an alert to their west coast.
At approximately 8:20 p.m. NOAA National Weather Service Pacific Region
director contacted PTWC to report PACOM said no tsunami was observed at
Diego Garcia in the Pacific.
At approximately 10:15 p.m. PTWC spoke with U.S. State Department
Operations and advised them about the potential threat to Madagascar and
Africa. They set up a conference call with the U.S. embassies at
Madagascar and Mauritius, and PTWC advised them of the situation.
At 5:36 a.m. on December 27 PTWC issued a third Tsunami Information
Bulletin for this event informing the Pacific that small sea level
fluctuations from the Indian Ocean tsunami were being observed in the
Pacific, probably from energy that wrapped around south of Australia.
The Pacific Warning System
Pacific warning network is comprised of (1) hundreds of seismic stations
worldwide; (2) coastal tide gauges and sophisticated Deep-ocean
Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) buoys in the Pacific Basin
capable of detecting a centimeter's difference in ocean height.
However, it is important to note that without similar gauges and buoys
in the Indian Ocean PTWC officers were not in a position to detect a
NOAA's Responsibility to the International Community
The U.S. has demonstrated the effectiveness of its warning system within
the Pacific region. It has also demonstrated that the warning system can
provide initial earthquake information to other nations and is most
willing to share that information with all concerned. With national
dissemination and water level networks in place, NOAA's information can
be used to mitigate future disasters.
It is also important to recognize that tsunamis can come ashore within
minutes of nearby earthquakes. In those instances, people must know what
to do in the event of a "felt" earthquake in low lying coastal areas.
The need for a tsunami warning program outside the Pacific region has
been raised since 1985 with little result. It now appears that there is
new interest in this issue within the international ICG/ITSU community.
The U.S. strongly supports such an effort.
Furthermore, the development of the Global Earth Observing System of
Systems (GEOSS) led by the United States, Japan, South Africa and the
European Commission-with 53 nations currently participating at the
ministerial level-should help fill the sensor gap for other regions of
the world. Two key focus areas of the GEOSS initiative are addressing
"reducing loss of life and property due to disasters" and "monitoring
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety
through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related
events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal
and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile: www.puc.cl
PACE Center at Yale University: www.yale.edu/pace
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
De: Phil Chappell [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Enviado el: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 11:49 AM
Asunto: test message
testing new email address
Happy New Year to all xmca'ers from a rather thrashed and mangled part
of the world. The number of dead and missing people is astounding. The
breadth of natural and human destruction is almost beyond imagination.
And this time there isn't anyone to blame (?)
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