Chennai lab develops advanced buoys for tsunami detection

INCOIS Developes Real Time tsunami Prediuction System

Image Source: Times of India (26-March-2021)

In a major development in India’s capability to assess dangers following a tsunami event, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has now developed a system which will be able to predict risk to coastal areas, height of waves that can hit them and even pinpoint vulnerable buildings, all in ‘realtime’. This will make India the first nation in the world to do so, said INCOIS, an institute under the Indian government’s Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).

“In the current scenario of tsunami forecast, India uses the earthquake information (location and magnitude) to provide a coastal forecast of expected tsunami arrival times and expected wave amplitudes at beach along with threat status (warning/alert/watch/no threat) using tsunami scenario database,” said E. Pattabhi Rama Rao, a scientist at INCOIS.

Pattabhi Rama Rao, the head of INCOIS’s Tsunami and Storm Surge Early Warning Services Group (TWG), said that the “capability of being able to run the propagation and inundation model in real-time will be beneficial to operational tsunami warning centres to reduce the uncertainties in tsunami forecasting.” This would mean a major update to the present mechanism.

“If we run a model in real-time, we need not depend on scenario databases that are run using worst-case parameters. Instead, we can wait for real-time earthquake source parameters that can be derived within 15-20 minutes of the earthquake and use those for running the model in real-time. Those forecasts will be much more accurate than scenario-based forecasting (used at present),” Pattabhi added. The model is being run on experimental mode and will be operationalised in the near future.

The government has identified a list of regions on the country’s eastern coast that are highly vulnerable to a tsunami. These include Puri, Kakinada, Machilipatnam, Nizampatnam-Vatapalem, Chennai, Cuddalore-Puducherry, Rameshwaram, Thoothukudi, Alappuzha-Chavara and Kochi.

“We have carried out a GIS mapping of these areas to the smallest possible detail (street and building level) including the socio-economic data. With this new model, in case of a tsunami event, we will be able to tell the areas are going to get hit, what time they will get hit and height of waves. The simulations will give a clear idea that which are the areas that can get inundated, the extent of inundation and up to which depth. It will even tell what kind of buildings that are vulnerable in these regions,” he added. With this capability, India will be the first country that will be able to provide tsunami inundation warnings in real time. The system was developed over the past three-four years.

Realistic prediction of tsunami
Pattabhi stressed that with the new system, INCOIS will be able to give a realistic prediction – not overestimation or underestimation. However, the system is yet to cover all the major areas. For instance, the new update will not cover the region of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a group of 572 islands in the east of the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal. “It will be added into the system in the future,” said Pattabhi.

According to the MoES, the Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) comprises a real-time seismic monitoring network of 17 broadband seismic stations to detect tsunamigenic earthquakes. Besides that, INCOIS receives data from around 90 national seismic stations that are established by various national, local and regional centres. It also has a real-time sea-level network with seven tsunami buoys in the open ocean and 35 tide gauge stations at different coastal locations to monitor tsunamis and pre-run scenarios database of tsunami. The ITEWC is also receiving data from around 350 seismic stations, 50 tsunami buoys and 300 tide gauges of other international agencies in real time.

“The centre is capable of detecting tsunamigenic earthquakes occurring in the Indian Ocean as well as in the global oceans within 10 minutes of their occurrence and disseminates the advisories to the concerned authorities,” said India’s Minister for Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan in reply to a query in the parliament on August 8.

Text Source: India.mongabay

Tags: Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services  |   INCOIS  |   National Institute of Ocean Technology  |  tsunami Buoy  |  NIOT  |  tsunami  |  tsunami Predictor