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Researchers to enhance tsunami model using sensor data

Canada: Researchers will use sensor data to enhance tsunami wave model. They will study how tsunami waves approach the British Columbia Coast. To collect data, they will install tsunami sensors off the coast of Vancouver Island, Times Colonist reported.

The sensors will warn of impending tsunamis and offer vital information about where they might hit hardest. “This new technology will provide early warning information that will potentially protect lives and property,” said Kate Moran, Director, North-East Pacific Time-series Undersea Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE), Canada.

The sensors will be placed in the shape of a star, with each fibre-optic cable arm stretching out for between 20 and 25 kilometres. The system will give Vancouver Islanders about a 30-minute warning of a tsunami, noted Kim Juniper, Associate Science Director, NEPTUNE. It will also provide information about the direction and size of waves, he added.

Models compiled from the sensor information should provide essential tools for planning development along the Island’s west coast, Juniper stated.

“As we make decisions as to where we can build along the west coast of Vancouver Island and elsewhere, we have to take into account the risk of a tsunami reaching shore.”

NEPTUNE, the world’s first regional cabled ocean observatory, which streams data from an 800-kilometre loop of fibre-optic cable under the Pacific Ocean to scientists and students all over the world, is managed by Oceans Networks Canada and led by the University of Victoria.

The first sensors for the deep-sea tsunami antenna will be installed at a depth of about 2,700 metres during a month-long voyage, leaving Sunday, on the 274-foot research vessel Thomas G Thomson. “We won’t get them all in this time, so we’ll finish in October, but they’ll be operational as soon as the first ones are plugged in,” Juniper explained.

At the end of each of the four fibre-optic cable arms will be a sensitive, made in B.C. bottom pressure recorder, providing real-time data to scientists and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Network.

Source: Times Colonist