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Tsunami Warning Centres Overview

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Tsunami Warning Centres – An Overview
Laura Kong (ITIC), Charles McCreery (PTWC), Masahiro Yamamoto, IOC
April 2008

When a major undersea earthquake occurs near the coast and at a shallow depth, there is a possibility that a destructive tsunami can be generated that will impact near-by coasts within minutes and that can also traverse across entire ocean basins to wreak havoc 1000’s of miles away and up to 24 hours later.  To alert far-away coasts, internationally-coordinated tsunami early warning systems have been established to provide alerts to countries on regional-to-distant tsunamis.

Read more: Tsunami Warning Centres Overview

Pacific Tsunami Warning

(as of October 2008)

Click here to download a Summary of the PTWS

The Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (TWS) is coordinated through the UNESCO IOC’s Intergovernmental Co-ordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS).  One of its most important activities is ensure the timely issuance of tsunami warnings and advisories.  The Pacific TWS provides international warning advisories to countries that have officially designated Tsunami Warning Focal Points (TWFP).  Its primary objective is to continuously detect and locate major earthquakes in the Pacific region, determine whether they have generated tsunamis, and provide timely and effective tsunami information and warnings to coastal communities in the Pacific to minimize the hazards of tsunamis, especially to human life and welfare. 

Read more: Pacific Tsunami Warning

Caribbean Tsunami Watch


In order to take steps to establish a coordinated early warning system for tsunamis and other coastal hazards, countries of the Caribbean region formed the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean Sea and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS) in 2006.  At that time, it will realized that it would likely be some time before the required infrastructure could be put in place, training was complete, and the region able to fully provide warning services for itself.

Read more: Caribbean Tsunami Watch

Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System

The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS) coordinates the Indian Ocean wide tsunami warning system that has been established as a network of national systems. The network is comprised of National Tsunami Warning Centres (NTWC) in each Member State receiving tsunami advisories from Regional Tsunami Advisory Services Providers (RTSPs) that issue regional tsunami bulletins for the Indian Ocean. Under the ICG/IOTWS, the RTSPs (Australia, India and Indonesia), which have been in operation since October 2011, are the primary source of tsunami advisories for the Indian Ocean.

Read more: Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System


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Featured Resources

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Regional Disaster Information Center (Latin America & the Caribbean)

A database of Spanish language materials focused on tsunami preparedness.
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Post-Tsunami Survey:
El Salvador Summary Video

Learn the basics of a post-tsunami survey.

TsunamiTeacher USA
Tsunami Basics

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(w/closed captioning)

Learn the basics of tsunamis. Available in English and Samoan.

Tsunamis on the Move

Tsunami Awareness Poster

Awareness poster available in English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Singalese.


Global Hazard Maps

Posters of Tsunami Sources, Significant Earthquakes and Significant Volcanic Eruptions. Also Tsunami Sources Icosohedron Globe.

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Tsunami, The Great Waves

Available in English, Spanish, French and Chinese.


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Tsunami Glossary

Available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French and Bahasa. 



Where the First Wave Arrives in Minutes

Available in English, Bahasa, Spanish and French.


DVD copies for PC and Macintosh computers are available free of charge from the ITIC, Hawaii (itic.tsunami@noaa.gov).

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