Global Positioning System to Detect Tsunami

by OldSailor on March 6, 2008



As frequency of earthquakes is increasing in the islands and ocean regions, Tsunami early warning systems are gaining importance. More and more developments are taking place in the field of Tsunami prediction. The last Tsunami that occurred in the Indian Ocean Region on December 26, 2004 is not so easy to forget. It has become a necessity to develop Tsunami prone coastal area to be Tsunami ready.

Tsunami predictions are done by

Now it is possible to detect Tsunami by the existing Global Positioning System (GPS) networks. When earthquake occurs in the ocean floor, a small displacement of the ocean surface displaces the atmosphere within about 15 minutes of occurrence and makes it all the way to the ionosphere, causing measurable changes in ionospheric electron density. This is called tsunami signature in the ionosphere and can be identified by the available GPS data.

Here is the Sumatra tsunami signal measured at the Cocos Islands

tsunami_detection_ by_gps

The Sumatra tsunami signal measured at the Cocos Islands by the tide gauge (red) and by the co-located GPS receiver (blue). The tide gauge measures the sea-level displacement (tide plus superimposed tsunami) and the GPS receiver measures the slant total electron content perturbation (+/-1 TEC unit) in the ionosphere.

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