NOAA Tsunami Program


 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Tsunami Program is a cross-agency cooperative effort to minimize the impacts of tsunamis. Administered by the National Weather Service (NWS), the program leverages the capabilities of other NOAA operational line offices, including the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), the National Ocean Service (NOS), and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS).

For more than 50 years, NOAA and its predecessor agencies have had operational responsibility for the U.S. Tsunami Warning System. Today's end-to-end system operates in partnership with federal, state, territorial, international and local organizations, as well as industry. Major components include:

  • Observation systems to rapidly detect tsunami generating earthquakes and tsunamis,
  • Models to forecast tsunami impacts,
  • Timely and accurate messaging,
  • Decision-support services during events to enhance community response, and
  • Preparedness and mitigation activities that enhance response to a tsunami threat and reduce or eliminate potential impacts.
  • Key NOAA Tsunami Program partners are described below.

     

    Tsunami Warning Centers

    Each of the Tsunami Warning Centers has its own designated service areas for which they are responsible for preparing and issuing tsunami messages.

    National Tsunami Warning Center (NWS)
    The National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, serves the continental United States, Alaska and Canada.

    Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (NWS)
    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, directly serves the Hawaiian Islands, the U.S. Pacific and Caribbean territories, and the British Virgin Islands and is the primary international forecast center for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's warning systems for the Pacific and Caribbean: the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System and the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions.

     

    Educating and Preparing Communities and the Public

    National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NWS)
    The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) is a federal/state partnership that includes NOAA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and 28 U.S. states and territories. Through collaboration, coordination, and funding and technical support to partner states and territories, the NTHMP works to reduce the impact of tsunamis on individual state and territorial coastlines and, collectively, the nation.

    TsunamiReady® Program (NWS)
    The TsunamiReady program helps communities prepare for tsunamis through better planning, education, and awareness. The program is voluntary, and communities must meet certain guidelines to be recognized as TsunamiReady.

    Weather Forecast Offices (NWS)
    NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) implement the TsunamiReady program in conjunction with state and local partners and work with communities to support their tsunami preparedness efforts. The WFOs also support the NOAA Tsunami Program by educating the public, local officials, and the media about tsunamis and tsunami safety and disseminating tsunami messages issued by the tsunami warning centers.

     

    International Coordination

    International Tsunami Information Center (NWS)
    The International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC) supports the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Tsunami Programme as well as the IOC's Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (PTWS). The ITIC's responsibilities include monitoring PTWS activities, coordinating tsunami warning system technology transfer among PTWS member states, acting as a clearinghouse for risk assessment and mitigation activities and producing tsunami education and preparedness materials.

    Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program (NWS)
    The Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program supports improved tsunami observations, provides training and outreach and education assistance, and facilitates data exchange for domestic and international partners in the Caribbean and adjacent regions. This includes supporting activities of the IOC's Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunamis and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions.

     

    Tsunami Research, Detection, and Data

    NOAA Center for Tsunami Research (OAR)
    The NOAA Center for Tsunami Research develops and tests new and improved tsunami detection and modeling methods and tools in support of Tsunami Warning Center operations and community-based tsunami hazard assessment efforts.

    National Data Buoy Center (NWS)
    The National Data Buoy Center operates and maintains the U.S. network of Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) systems. They also provide interactive access to real-time water-level data from around the world.

    Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (NOS)
    As part of the National Water Level Observation Network, the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services operates and maintains coastal water-level stations in support of Tsunami Warning Center operations.

    National Centers for Environmental Information (NESDIS)
    The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) provides data to support tsunami forecasting, research, hazard assessment, and mitigation. It produces high-resolution coastal digital elevation maps and is the long-term archive for national and international tsunami data, a natural hazards image database, and the global historical tsunami database.

    Numerous other NOAA offices and programs also contribute to the work of the NOAA Tsunami Program, providing data, tools, training, technical assistance, and funding. These include the NWS's International Activities Office, OAR's National Sea Grant College Program, NESDIS's Office of Satellite and Product Operations, and NOS's Office for Coastal Management, National Geodetic Survey, and Office of Coast Survey.

     


    Related Documents:

         NOAA Tsunami Program Fact Sheet - 2 pager 

         NOAA Tsunami Program Fact Sheet - 4 pager 11x17 folded (English, Spanish, French)

         NOAA Tsunami Program Fact Sheet - 4 pager 8 1/2x11 (English, Spanish, French)