Make tsunami alert more comprehensible: Tsunami expert

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London, May 7 (ANI): A top tsunami expert has called for tsunami alerts to be made more comprehensible to the common public.

He feels that traditional alerts communicate in scientific jargon making the message ineffectual, these alerts focus on "wave amplitudes" which are confusing to most common folks.

Dr Titov, director of Noaa's Center for Tsunami Research believes that less abstruse information such as risk of flooding should be provided.

He feels there are lessons to be learnt from the recent earthquake in Chile that measured 8.8 on the Richter scale that triggered a tsunami.

"We're scientists and we're really proud of our models and our accuracy but we realised after the Chilean tsunami that when we convey this information to the public there is a gap between what we are saying and what is understood," he told BBC News.

"When we say there is a two-metre wave amplitude expected, the general person imagines a two-metre wall of water. But that's not what amplitude means - tsunami would very rarely come as a wall of water. It refers to the amplitudes at tide gauges and it is peak to trough. It will not be the wave height that a surfer or someone on the beach sees," he said.

The 27 February quake which had its epicentre some 11 km off the coast of the Maule region of Chile marked a major milestone for tsunami forecasting.

The warnings put out by the Noaa Pacific Tsunami Warning Center proved to be highly accurate when the predictions of wave behaviour were checked against what actually happened at tide gauges.

Forecast travel times for the tsunami across the Pacific basin demonstrated an average accuracy of 98%. The forecast of maximum wave amplitudes had an accuracy above 80%.

This level of success means Noaa could be very confident about its flooding forecasts, which should now be more prominent in the public release of information, said Dr Titov.

"You want to send a message that will be immediately understood and immediately acted upon. We can now convey very simple information such as the likelihood that flooding will occur for a sunami," he said. (ANI)

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