01.10.2013 - Natural Sciences Sector

New tsunami forecasting products will be available for the Pacific Ocean in 2014

© NOAA WC/ATWCThe tsunami travel time map generated by the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre shows the initial estimate of travel time across the ocean.

The enhanced tsunami products, under development since 2011, include tsunami wave forecasts that will help countries improve their response capability. The enhancements are expected to reduce significantly the number of areas warned unnecessarily and to help provide advanced notice of potential local tsunamis. The new products were put to the test during the Pacific Wave 13 exercise (PacWave13) in May 2013 and approved during the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS-XXV) that took place in Vladivostok, Russian Federation, on 9-11 September 2013.

The Group requested the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) to replace the current tsunami products for the Pacific Tsunami Warning System with the endorsed Enhanced Tsunami Products on 1 October 2014. With this new method, the PTWC will no longer advise levels of alert to Member States, but instead provide more detailed forecast levels of tsunami threat for use by the National Tsunami Warning Centers (NTWCs).

The Group also accepted China's proposal to build a South China Sea Tsunami Advisory Centre (SCSTAC) to service the approved sub-regional South China Sea Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System within the framework of the ICG/PTWS.

China's National Marine Environmental Forecasting Centre (NMFEC) will be responsible for building the centre. The meeting was very well attended, with over 60 participants from 16 countries and the participation of the World Meteorological Organization and a private company (SAIC).

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