Indian Ocean countries take on tsunami monitoring

03 April 2013

Recognised as the international signature for tsunami, this painting is by Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai

Recognised as the international
signature for tsunami, this
painting is by Japanese artist,
Katsushika Hokusai


Australia is one of three countries to formally undertake tsunami monitoring to provide advice about possible threats to Indian Ocean countries.

Since the Indian Ocean Tsunami generated by the Sumatran Earthquake of 26 December 2004, advice on any tsunami threat for the Indian Ocean has been provided by Japan and the USA as an extension of their responsibilities for the Pacific Tsunami Warning System. This arrangement was put in place until Indian Ocean countries could establish suitable infrastructure to provide tsunami warnings.

Following the tsunami, work began under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission on developing a tsunami warning capability for the Indian Ocean.

That work involved the installation and upgrade of seismic stations, deep ocean sea level tsunami monitoring stations and conducting national risk assessments, emergency management training, and community education and preparedness programs. It also involved development of tsunami analysis and forecast systems and establishment of 24/7 facilities to ensure warnings could be issued by the national authorities to their communities.

After successful testing during 2011 and 2012, and under international agreement, monitoring for the Indian Ocean will be undertaken from April 2013 by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre operated by Geoscience Australia and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology along with the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre in Hyderabad and the Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning Centre in Jakarta.

The three centres will provide around-the-clock real-time information on any tsunami threat to countries around the Indian Ocean, who will then issue warnings to their communities as appropriate.

Topic contact: media@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 4, 2013