U.S. to add tsunami buoys

The U.S. will expand its tsunami detection system of deep sea buoys and seismic monitors through a $37.5 million effort over the next two years, the Bush administration announced today.

That money will allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to deploy 32 new deep ocean buoys by mid 2007 and the United States Geological Survey to enhance its network of seismic monitors. Enhanced forecasting and improving response time to an impending tsunami are also funding priorities.

Most of the new buoys will float along the entire rim of the Pacific Ocean, with one buoy placed in the South China Sea, according to an administration map. Seven of the 32 buoys are targeted for deployment in the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean; a global tsunami warning system "will ultimately include the Indian Ocean," said John Marburger, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In the world today, only seven deep ocean buoys operate, all of them in the Pacific. Five are near Alaska or Washington State, although three of those are not working. The remaining two are located near the equator and offshore from Chile.

The warning system expansion will occur under the auspices of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems, an international organization of 54 nations dedicated to coordinating the collection of environmental data and sharing the results.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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