Establishment of a Tsunami Early Warning System in the Indian Ocean - The German Indonesian Contribution - GITEWS
The Sumatra earthquake of December 2004 was the second largest earthquake ever recorded by nstruments. The earthquake coda travelled around the world. After 12 minutes, it reached Potsdam and was automatically recorded and analysed. At this point in time, the first tsunami waves had not yet washed up the shores of Sumatra.
There was no possibility to pass the warning on to the population in time. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF ) commissioned the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres directly after the disaster with developing a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean, which can later be extended to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. The system integrates terrestrial observation networks of seismology and geodesy with marine measuring processes and satellite observation. Germany cooperates with Indonesia, which is the area most heavily threatened by earthquakes in the Indian Ocean, because of its proximity to the seismically active Sunda trench. The Joint Declaration of BMBF and RISTEK, the Indonesian research ministry,which was signed on 14 March 2005, is the basis for this cooperation. Besides the early warning system, it also contains the provision of capacity building for Indonesian institutions. The integration of the German-Indonesian contribution and the contributions of further countries into an overall system for the Indian Ocean is coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO .