A tsunami warning system for Europe and the Mediterranean regionThe first steps towards a tsunami warning system for the North-Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean and connected seas, will be taken next week at a meeting to be held in Rome (November 21-22)*.
The meeting is being organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), which established the tsunami warning system for the Pacific and, over the past year, has coordinated the establishment of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System.
This year, Portugal commemorated the 250th anniversary of the Lisbon tsunami that on December 1, 1755, destroyed the city and affected many other towns and cities on the Iberian Peninsula, across northern Africa and the rest of the European coastline. While this was undoubtedly the worst such event on recent record in the region there have been others: in Norway for example in 1905, or more recently Algeria in May 2003. Despite this, there is no effective early warning system for the region.
The Rome meeting will be the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) established at the IOC’s General Assembly last June. The ICG has the responsibility of managing the system. It is made up of representatives from IOC Member States in the region, whose immediate task will be to assess present detection facilities and explore ways of coordinating a single, regional system. The ICG will also begin work on guidelines for coastal planning and management.
ICG members contributing major systems and technology to the project will report on their progress in areas such as: plans for observing instrumentation; communications equipment; data systems; and warning centers. Examples are expected from France, Italy, Spain and the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.
*Palazzo Taverna, Via di Monte Giordano