Tsunami forecast animation & warning systems

By Grant Jacobs 14/03/2011

Short videos & articles on tsunami and earthquake warning systems.

This video provided by NOAA* shows a one-minute animation of forecast results** for the tsunami from the March 11th Honshu M=9.0 earthquake:

Animations like this prove to be a regular feature from this source, with animations like the one above for most of the major earthquakes that have induced tsunami in recent years.

NOAA hosts a great deal of other instructive videos on a wide range of topics. On the current topic, examples include a video explaining the tsunami detection and warning system:

This article, 80 seconds warning for Tokyo,*** gives a brief, clear, explanation of the various warning systems and the roles they played in the earthquake. Other brief accounts can be found on Wall Street Journal and Scientific American.***

Click on image to see interactive map of tsunami detectors; roll your mouse over the diamond marking a detector and a pop-up will show the latest data
Click on image to see interactive map of tsunami detectors; roll your mouse over the diamond marking a detector and a pop-up will show the latest data

I’ve previously written a brief article on earthquake warning systems last year myself. One thing that struck me was discovering a video of a Japanese TV programme interrupted with a presenter announcing an earthquake was about to happen – before it occurred. Go to my old article to see a video of this.

In Japan these warning systems are linked to shutting down nuclear plants, stopping trains, shutting of gas supplies, sending out text messages and so on.

Although this has a somewhat advertorial tone, it gives a little detail on the ocean floor transponders that are part of the DART tsunami detection system:

Readers should also check out Peter Griffin’s article on GPS-based earthquake warning systems and Chris Rowan’s animation of large earthquakes around the Pacific Rim over from January 1st to March 12th. For further links to articles, photos and videos of the Honshu earthquake, see the first link below (‘Weekend shorts’).


A few minutes before this post was scheduled to fly, I was alerted to two articles on tsnuami at GeoMika. The first is an introduction to tsunami (slightly geeky at points, but good); the second extends on this, including an account of a magnitude 9 earthquake near Vancouver Island known from Japanese records of a tsunami on January 26th, 1700.


* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

** I emphasise forecast to draw attention to that this is a model simulation, rather than the measured event after-the-fact.

*** I’ve linked you to the ‘print’ version of the article to spare you the pop-up advertising and to present the text in one page.

Other articles on Code for life:

Weekend shorts (including Japan earthquake links)

Printing a human kidney

Make it a brainy week

Aww, crap.

The inheritance of face recognition (should you blame your parents if you can’t recognise faces?)

Rubella, not a benign disease if experienced during early pregnancy

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