Washington, July 10 : Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany have developed an improved simulation program for predicting tsunami events with the potential for catastrophe.
This software is now being integrated into the Decision Support System (DSS) of the German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, and is to resume its test mode in Indonesia in November.
"Within slightly more than two years, my team has developed, with the help of current software technology, the most modern and flexible simulation system for one of the most dreaded natural disasters of the world", explained Dr. Jorn Behrens, Head of the Tsunami Modelling Group of the Alfred Wegener Institute.
"In contrast to other currently available Tsunami Early Warning Systems, it does not only use earthquake data for its ultra-fast situational analysis, but it combines various measurements to a robust, precise, and quick situation report," he added.
Next to seismic data (earthquake parameters), also gauge and buoy data (wave heights), and GPS data (deformations of the earth's crust) can be incorporated into the calculations.
All these data run together in the DSS, and the picture of the general situation supports decision-makers - for example after a seaquake - to evaluate more reliably and quicker than before, whether it poses a threat for residents of the bordering coastline in the form of rising water waves. ccordingly, warnings reach affected persons earlier than before, and it leaves more time to take disaster prevention measures.
Furthermore, simulation results from different institutes can seamlessly be integrated into the system.
The team from the Alfred Wegener Institute will provide the warning system until November 2008 with already around 1500 high-resolution tsunami scenarios.
The newly developed simulation system compares these scenarios with incoming real measurement data in a matter of seconds and deduces its forecast.
The Indonesian partners work on the completion of the database at the same time.
Together with colleagues from the Indonesian "Institute of Technology Bandung", a connection to approximately 160.000 local tsunami scenarios they calculated is now being incorporated into the system developed at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven.
They allow an essential expansion of the database.
"In regard to the interface to other programs, we adhere to open standards, which control the exchange of data in the world of computers," said Behrens.
"This way, external scenarios can seamlessly be integrated, and we can adapt the simulation model quickly to other marine areas of the world, for instance the Mediterranean Sea," he added.