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  5. 4. Early Tsunami Detection

Supporting Everyday Living

4. Early Tsunami Detection

Early Tsunami Detection

GPS wave meter expected to detect tsunami

Currently, 15 GPS wave meters that monitor the height of waves using GPS (Global Positioning System) are installed along the coasts of Japan.
The Cabinet Office Central Disaster Prevention Council has proposed to relevant ministries that approximately 100 GPS wave meters and seafloor water pressure meters in total will be installed in waters of the Tohoku region that experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake and also offshore of Shikoku region and the Kii Peninsula that are anticipated to suffer damage if either the Nankai or Tonankai earthquake occurs. They will be used to accurately predict the height of tsunami that may potentially threaten coastal areas.

GPS wave meter installed in 15 locations in Japan

In the long-term "Hitz 2016 Vision" started in April 2011, Hitachi Zosen decided to focus on the establishment of infrastructure to make society safer and more secure and the development of disaster prevention equipment. Based on this vision, Hitachi Zosen is developing systems and products with functions to prevent disasters or lessen their impact.
The tsunami detection system using the GPS wave meter for which research and development started in 1996 received the top prize of the Infrastructure Technology Development Award in 2004 and the Invention Prize of the 2010 National Commendation for Invention. Hitachi Zosen has manufactured 15 GPS wave meter units.
A GPS wave meter monitors waves and tide levels in real-time by measuring the vertical fluctuations of a buoy (GPS wave meter) floating offshore using a GPS satellite. Since fluctuations in the offshore sea level caused by a tsunami can be observed, the meter will be of use to the Meteorological Agency in preparing tsunami-related information.
In the Great East Japan Earthquake, multiple GPS wave meters detected tsunami approximately 10 minutes before they reached the coast. GPS wave meters are therefore expected to be useful for the early observation of tsunami.

Development of technology for detecting tsunami farther offshore

Jointly with GPS solution Inc. (Colorado state, US), Hitachi Zosen developed technology to precisely measure the land surface and tide levels over ultra long distances (approximately 1,000 km) in real-time. If this new positioning technology is applied to GPS wave meters, tsunami can be detected even farther offshore.