Stennis Scientist Appointed to International Tsunami Commission

Tunami Buoy Deployment

Tsunami (DART®) Buoy Deployment

Dr. William H. Burnett of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) was elected to the International Tsunami Commission during the 24th International Tsunami Symposium held in Novosibirsk, Russia July 14 to 17, 2009. The Tsunami Commission is an international group of scientists concerned with various aspects of tsunamis, including an improved understanding of the dynamics of generation, propagation and coastal run-up and the consequences to society of the tsunami hazard. The symposium included a three-day Research Symposium covering all the basic aspects of the tsunami problem and one-day Technical Workshop on Tsunami Measurements and Real-Time Detection jointly sponsored by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) Tsunami Commission (IUGG/TC),NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

During the workshop, Dr. Burnett made a presentation about NOAA’s network of off shore tsunami detection systems and participated in a live demonstration of the systems when a tsunami was generated by a large earthquake off the southwest coast of New Zealand.

NDBC operates and maintains the network of 39 tsunami detection systems that employ the Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART®) technology. The technology consists of surface buoy that communicates pressure measurements made at the seafloor by a Bottom Pressure Recorder. The recorders can operate to depths of 19,000 feet and measurements take less than 3 minutes from the seafloor to the Tsunami Warning Centers located in Alaska and Hawaii. This vast network provides coastal communities in the Pacific, Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico with faster and more accurate tsunami warnings. NDBC builds the systems at its facility in Hancock County’s Stennis Space Center where Dr. Burnett heads the Data Management and Communications Branch responsible for the quality control and distribution of data from the DART systems. NDBC maintains and operates the network with a team of dedicated engineers, scientists, technicians, and logisticians headed by Mr. Craig Kohler, NDBC DART Project Manager.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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