Algorithm and satellite network ‘could give early warning of tsunamis

Devastation left after the 2011 Japan tsunami (Credit: iStock)
Devastation left after the 2011 Japan tsunami (Credit: iStock)

Scientists are using a new algorithm to analyse data from more than 100 satellites around the world, hoping to detect devastating tsunamis and potentially save thousands of lives.

more destructive, ocean-wide tsunamis happening every 15 years on average.

The Varion method could help warn people living further away from the epicentre, said earthquake engineering expert Tiziana Rossetto of University College London to Professional Engineering. “It’s not going to help coastlines which are very close to tsunami sources, but it will help coastlines further away,” she said. “They don’t feel the ground shaking, so they don’t have the natural warning you would have if you’re closer.”

There is a lot of uncertainty around whether the technique can be used practically in a warning system, said Rossetto, but she added that “it would be a fantastic addition to more traditional methods” if it works. “The more information that can be developed to get a real-time idea of how big the tsunami is and therefore what extent of land could be affected… then great, fantastic. If it’s possible and if it’s possible to get that information in a timely way, really quickly, then that might be fantastic.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *