New tsunami detection algorithm could improve current system

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Before and after satellite images of tsunami destruction © WikiImages

“Time Reverse Imaging Method” could save thousands

Surf News Network,  – A new algorithm has been developed that could give tsunami-prone areas a heads-up before a tsunami strikes.

Currently, geologists use ocean sensors to detect earthquakes and underwater landslides but not how, and if, they will push water to form tsunamis. The method is reasonably effective but unable to predict occurrences before they happen. The severity of the tsunami forecasted under the current system and where it will hit can vary greatly.

Newswise reports that scientists from the Australian National University developed a “Time Reverse Imaging Method” which takes real-time data from current ocean sensors but extrapolates the data differently.

Once scientists have the tsunami source pinpointed, they can use it to make better predictions about what will happen once the waves reach shore. Claims are that this new method is fast enough to compete with existing algorithms but much more accurate.

“[The Time Reverse Imaging Method] is not based on some guess, it’s based on [real-time] information,” said Jan Dettmer, a seismologist at the university. “[This method] would improve accuracy without sacrificing speed.” Dettmer and his colleagues will speak about their tsunami-tracking algorithm at the 171st meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, held May 23-27 in Salt Lake City.

The researchers studied plate tectonics in the Japan Trench to help create the algorithm.

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