Indonesia has Reliable German Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS)

by OldSailor on December 27, 2008


GITEWS_2 Indonesia has now a reliable German Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS). The GITEWS is in operation from November 11. The necessity to have a reliable warning system was strongly felt after the December 26, 2004 tsunami that generated waves of up to 15 metres in height and even hit Somalia at a distance of about 4500 km from its epicenter near the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. In Banda Aceh province of Indonesia alone, more than 140,000 people died and in total approximately a quarter million people lost their lives in Indian Ocean Region.

Some of the interesting features of GITEWS are:

  • This system is tailor made to suit Indonesia and differs from other Tsunami Early Warning Systems as it uses new scientific procedures and technologies.
  • Should a tsunami occur in Indonesia, the waves, in an extreme case, will reach the coast within 20 minutes and only very little time remains to warn the areas at risk. This factor was taken as the prime consideration when developing the concept for the entire system.GITEWS_1
  • As more than 90% of all tsunamis result from strong earthquakes, the system uses SeisComP3 software programme to determine within two minutes, the location and the magnitude of an earthquake. The entire seismological network in Indonesia currently avails of over 120 stations. SeisComP3 software is also used in the Indian Tsunami Early Warning System. Further this software is also used in Maldives, Pakistan, Thailand and in South Africa.
  • Also the system uses
    • Tide gauges integrated with GPS receivers to receive sea level data (vertical and horizontal displacement) from nine locations in the Indian Ocean.
    • GPS Buoys to work independently as measuring instruments for tsunami detection and as relay stations from planned 10 locations.
    • A new software TsunAWI to simulate and synthesize an overall picture of the situation by comparing with the data base.
    • Decision Support System (DSS) that compiles all available data, information and modeling flow to reach a decision on whether a tsunami warning is to be disseminated or not.
  • On the basis of the available information, the responsible person on-duty in the Warning Centre can very quickly get an overview of the situation and generate suggestions to take a fast and reliable decision.

The 1.4 trillion rupiah (US$130.2 million) system is designed to detect an earthquake at sea and reliably predict within five minutes whether it could cause a tsunami.
For more information, log on to GITEWS.

Here is an interesting video clip on GITEWS.

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