2 Oct 2014

More accurate tsunami warnings for Pacific

5:03 pm on 2 October 2014

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii has changed its system in a bid to give more specific warnings.

This comes at the request of some Pacific countries, such as Fiji, which because of its location has been receiving unnecessary tsunami warnings triggered by earthquakes in nearby Vanuatu and Tonga.

A geophysicist at the Centre, Gerard Fryer, says Pacific nations also raised issues of sovereignty over who should be warning their citizens.

He says this has resulted in the new product, called Tsunami Forecasting, which will provide among other things, wave heights and travel time and be delivered to national disaster authorities who will then decide whether to issue a warning.

" Well we are hoping what it means is that the warnings become much more reliable. Few, fewer false alarms and a much greater understanding of what it is thats going to come and so thats going to be very helpful to people. So it will help them work out what there response should be."

Damage in American Samoa caused by the 2009 Tsunami

Damage in American Samoa caused by the 2009 Tsunami Photo: RNZI