Southeastern Section - 62nd Annual Meeting (20-21 March 2013)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:30 PM


CRESPO-JONES, Hector M., NOAA, National Weather Service, 259 Alfonso Valdez, Res. 1B and 2A, Mayaguez, PR 00680 and VON HILLEBRANDT, Christa, NOAA, National Weather Service, 259 Alfonso Vald├ęs, Res. 1B and 2A, Mayaguez, PR 00680,

The Caribbean and Western Atlantic region has a record of almost 100 tsunamis in the past 500 years causing 3510 deaths in the past 170 years. This is of great concern due to the vast population and tourists that nowadays live and visit coastal areas, as well as the economic activity. The UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Areas (CARIBE-EWS) was established in 2005 with the objective of preventing the loss of life and economic disruption a tsunami could cause. The main areas of focus are monitoring and warning, hazard and risk assessments, communications and preparedness. In the case of monitoring and warning, even when seismic data are the basis for issuing the initial messages, the coastal sea level gauges and DART buoys are critical for the detection and forecasting of the tsunami waves. Currently, the sea level network consists of 7 deep ocean DART© buoys and 40 coastal sea level gauges. Nevertheless the goal is that there are 100 stations contributing to the system. For the resilience of this observation system, the CARIBE EWS has coordinated training sessions for the station operators. In addition to the training the CARIBE EWS has made specific recommendations on the characteristics of the coastal sea level gauges: sampling rates, accuracy, redundancy, real/near real time robust data transmission, hardening for severe weather and coastal events. The operators have indicated also the importance of having adequate resources and training to visualize and analyze the data received. In support of this IOC has developed an online sea level monitoring facility, while the NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the International Tsunami Information Center developed the Tide Tool program which has more robust data analysis functions. Another strong recommendation has been that the sea level stations installed meet the requirements of the tsunami, but also other coastal stakeholders, like weather, climate, navigation, and mapping. As part of these multidisciplinary efforts, sea level application tools are currently under evaluation.