The Human-Human Interface

Global Early Warning Systems

The World Right Now

Disasters and wars seem to speed up technology development. Here’s recent developments in worldwide sensors for early warning on tsunamis.

“Indonesia won’t rely solely on seismic signals in making a call on a tsunami. Last month, scientists deployed the first two seafloor sensors of the German Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System. The devices, whose development was spearheaded by the National Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam and the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, measure sea- floor vibrations and pressure changes in the water column

The U.S.-made Deep-Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis tsunameters–each a buoy and an associated bottom pressure sensor–already serve as sentinels for the PTWC in Hawaii. It’s the only such device that’s been “tried and tested,” notes IOC’s Erb. At a price tag of $250,000 per buoy and a design life of 1 year, the network won’t come cheap, nor will it come quickly: The U.S. factory that produces the buoys was inundated by Hurricane Katrina, so production is lagging, sources say.”