On the back of the first World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 05, Australians are urged to be vigilant against the threat of a tsunami.
Dr Andrew Tupper of Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) warned that although Australia has not yet experienced the devastating and deadly consequences of tsunamis, it is not invulnerable.
“Australia is surrounded by 8,000 kilometres of active tectonic plate boundaries capable of generating a tsunami, which could potentially cause significant damage to Australia’s coastline,” Tupper said.
Tupper is a co-director at the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC), the authority that issues tsunami warnings for Australia and its offshore territories, and operated by BoM and Geosciences Australia.
Said Tupper: “Australia has an early detection system that includes deep ocean buoys that provide instant alerts and verification of sea level changes caused by a tsunami.
“We estimate that most parts of mainland Australia would receive at least two hours’ notice of an impending tsunami.”
So far this year, JATWC has responded to 37 large undersea earthquakes, none of which posed a significant tsunami threat to Australia.
Geoscience Australia’s Adrienne Moseley, also a co-director at JATWC, said BoM and JATWC’s combined efforts were crucial in delivering Australians with timely and accurate tsunami information.
“After Geoscience Australia detects an earthquake, we pass the data on to the Bureau to monitor, assess the threat level and then issue relevant tsunami advice.”
Tupper said JATWC is also working to raise tsunami awareness and collaborate on innovative approaches to disaster risk reduction. It is also an active participant in international communication tests and tsunami exercises.
“Preparation is the key to reducing the impact of a tsunami. This is why Australia is focused on exercising our early warning systems and working with our neighbours in the Indian and Pacific Oceans,” Tupper said.
The UN General Assembly designated November 05 as World Tsunami Awareness Day in honour of a Japanese story, where a farmer successfully warned his community of an impending tsunami by burning rice sheaves during an 1854 earthquake.
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