Indonesian Tsunami Warning System To Be Expanded
March 30, 2011 • 1:23PM

Mar 29, 2011 (LPAC)--This morning in Jakarta, the German government handed over full control of the warning system it has built up in cooperation with the Indonesian government since 2008, to the BMKG, Indonesia's agency in charge of earthquake monitoring. The system was commissioned in the wake of the December 2004 super-tsunami that hit all coastal areas of the Indian Ocean and killed more than a quarter million people. The German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS), as it is called, was developed by Germany's Research Center for Earth Sciences (GFZ), and it is has worked well in spite of its limitations, meanwhile providing early warnings of 10 tsunamis, including the far-away one that just hit Japan's northeast. GITEWS uses data from seismic probes underwater and on the ground, and GPS measuring to achieve better precision in locating tsunamis already at an early stage of their emergence. In the case of the Japan tsunami, the warning time for Indonesian regions was upwards of 40 minutes—which the 140 scientists and technicians working at GITEWS hope to increase considerably, with an expansion of the seismic measuring grid during the coming years.