Locating tsunami warning buoys

Apr 28, 2010

Australian researchers describe a mathematical model in the International Journal of Operational Research that can find the ten optimal sites at which tsunami detection buoys and sea-level monitors should be installed. The model could save time and money in the installation of a detection system as well as providing warning for the maximum number of people should a potentially devastating tsunami occur again in the Indian Ocean.

A magnitude 9.3 shook the off the coast of Aceh, in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, on 26 December 2004. The quake led to an overwhelming tsunami with waves as high as 10.5 m travelling at up to 8 m per second. Within two hours the tsunami had reached Colombo, in Sri Lanka and then the east coast of India. Almost eight hours later, fishing villages on the east coast of Africa in Kenya and Somalia felt its impact. There was no warning for the people affected and almost a quarter of a million lives were lost across eleven nations fringing the Indian Ocean.

In 2005, the first steps to install a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean were being taken, with plans to deploy 24 tsunami detection buoys. The author of the study, Layna Groen and Lindsay Botten of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, at the University of Technology, and Katerina Blazek previously at Sinclair Knight Merz, in Sydney, NSW, Australia, suggest that their model has significant implications for the construction and maintenance of the tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) planned the establishment of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS). The detection/alert system is the crucial component consisting of seismic detectors, sea-level monitors and deep-sea pressure sensors attached to buoys.

Groen and colleagues have focused on the latter two components as being critical to an adequate warning system. They point out that relatively few detection buoys are yet in place and a number of sea-level monitoring stations are still to be constructed. Their study, which uses the well-known modeling tool "Mathematica", should help the IOTWS decision makers in determining where the remaining buoys should be placed.

The team's analysis supports the positioning of the 40 proposed buoys, but points out that just 1o buoys would be adequate for warning the maximum number of people. They add that the same mathematical modeling approach could be applied to tsunami detection in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Black Seas.

"The imperative for this is made clear in the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Committee estimate that 'by the year 2025, three-quarters of the world's population will be living in coastal areas', and 'The expanded tsunami network that the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO is coordinating is just the first step in building a global tsunami warning system designed to monitor oceans and seas everywhere'."

Explore further: Math journal puts Rauzy fractcal image on the cover

More information: "Optimizing the location of tsunami detection buoys and sea-level monitors in the Indian Ocean" in Int. J. Operational Research, 2010, 8, 174-188

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tsunami-warning buoys launched in Pacific

Dec 30, 2006

Six new tsunami reporting stations were deployed in the Pacific Ocean, providing more lead time for U.S. areas at the greatest risk, federal officials said.

U.S. expands tsunami warning system

Aug 22, 2006

The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration says it has expanded its network of deep-ocean buoys to guard against tsunamis.

Tsunami not yet detected: expert

Apr 02, 2007

Although the Bureau of Metereology had issued a tsunami warning, at this stage a tsunami had not yet been detected, a University of Queensland geophysicist said this morning.

Nine dead in Indonesian earthquake

Sep 12, 2007

Officials reported at least nine people were killed and more than 100 injured after a strong earthquake and an aftershock struck the Indian Ocean Wednesday.

East Coast tsunamis maps to be created

Nov 23, 2005

Two University of Rhode Island scientists have been awarded an $86,000 grant to create tsunami warning maps of the East Coast of the United States.

Recommended for you

History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

2 hours ago

As Texas mulls new history textbooks for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

2 hours ago

Federal prosecutors say radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have settled civil claims that they misused money from a nearly $1 million federal ...

'Hidden Treasure of Rome' project unveiled

3 hours ago

For more than a century, hundreds of thousands of historical artifacts dating back to before the founding of Rome have been stored in crates in the Capitoline Museums of Rome, where they have remained mostly untouched. Now, ...

Poverty rate drops for the first time since 2006

4 hours ago

The poverty rate in the United States has dropped for the first time since 2006, bringing a bit of encouraging news about the nation's economy as President Barack Obama and Congress gear up for the November elections.

User comments : 0