Home > Future Measures > Tsunami Warning System > Importance

Importance of Tsunami Warning System

A tsunami warning system such as that in the Pacific Ocean can help save lives. When the earthquake struck off Sumatra, a monitoring system could have predicted the possibility of an ongoing tsunami caused by the quake by measuring underwater sea currents.

Such a system can then inform the relevant governments in the area around the Indian Ocean, and they can then warn their people to evacuate costal areas, hence preventing the unnecessary loss of live which ran in the thousands.

The main reasons for the absence of a warning system in the Indian Ocean was because

  • The occurrence of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean is rare and hence it was believed that the marginal cost of creating a warning system is more then the marginal benefit
  • The cost of building and maintaining such a system is relatively expensive and governments were unwilling to pour in money to build one. It was felt the money could be of better use if channeled to solve even more serious problems such as poverty and education.

Related Readings


  • U.S. ANNOUNCES PLAN FOR AN IMPROVED TSUNAMI DETECTION AND WARNING SYSTEM. NOAA. Retrieved February 8, 2005, from http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2005/s2369.htm
  • The Tsunami Warning System. Earth and Space Sciences at University of Washington. Retrieved February 8, 2005, from http://www.geophys.washington.edu/tsunami/general/warning/warning.html
  • Tsunami Warning System. Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 8, 2005, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsunami_warning_system
  • New Scientist Breaking News - Indian Ocean tsunami warning system by mid-2006. Retrieved February 20, 2005, from http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6905
  • Tsunami early warning 'next year'. BBC News. Retrieved February 20, 2005, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4168917.stm

Content Outline