Current warning systems lack the speed and precision necessary to efficiently alert rapid response and emergency service efforts of dangerous natural hazards. For earthquakes, as one example, meaningful warnings save lives when issued within 1-2 minutes, a dramatic reduction from the 20 minutes required to determine that last year's devastating Tohoku-oki earthquake was a massive magnitude 9.0 event.
Funded by NASA, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Central Washington University and other organizations are developing next-generation high-tech tools within a novel real-time alert system to accelerate early warnings for earthquakes, tsunamis and extreme storms and flooding events. Scripps Research Geodesist Yehuda Bock will present the latest advances of the Real-Time Earthquake Analysis for Disaster Mitigation Network (READI) at the 2012 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. (IN31C-1505 · Wednesday, Dec. 5, 8 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. · Moscone South Halls A-C)
Using real-time seismic and GPS instruments, researchers can compute the geometry, size and faulting pattern of large earthquakes such as the Tohoku-oki earthquake in under three minutes.
Melding GPS technologies with existing instruments such as accelerometers and meteorological instruments in novel ways, the new system proposes geodetic stations interconnecting with a new "Geodetic Sensor Web" to coordinate information flow from stations to scientists, mission planners, decision makers and first responders. There are now more than 525 operational READI stations in the Western U.S. and Canada streaming real-time GPS data to several operational centers. Bock's group has developed low-cost sensors to upgrade existing stations with new capabilities and these will be deployed next January starting in the San Diego area.
"By adding low-cost accelerometers to existing GPS stations, we can detect the first arrivals of seismic P waves that serve as precursors for subsequent arrivals of destructive S and surface waves," said Bock. "These measurements can be performed close to the source for any earthquake greater than magnitude 4.5, thereby providing effective earthquake early warning for any conceivable event of interest."
In related research, Diego Melgar, a Scripps graduate student working with Bock, will present new advancements in developing prediction models using GPS data to accurately estimate seismic motions for large earthquakes. (S53B-2492 · Friday, Dec. 7, 1:40 - 6 p.m. Moscone South Halls A-C)
These "rapid source characterization" models improved retroactive assessments of earthquake magnitude and geometry-the Tohoku-oki earthquake from 20 minutes to three minutes. The model allowed the researchers to ascertain the type of earthquake, which could provide more accurate and timely warnings of the severity of the impeding tsunami and assist first responders with evacuation and recovery efforts.
"High precision GPS is the perfect complement to seismic data," said Melgar. "It is an invaluable tool, one that can rapidly assess the true dimensions of large and very large events in seconds to minutes and in a way in which seismometers alone cannot."
G13C-08 · Monday, Dec. 3, 3:25 p.m. - 3:40 p.m. · Moscone West 3009
"AMBIGUITY-FIXED GPS PRECISE POINT POSITIONING FOR EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI EARLY WARNING IN WESTERN NORTH AMERICA"
IN31C-1505 · Wednesday, Dec. 5, 8 a.m.-12:20 p.m. · Moscone South Halls A-C
"NEXT-GENERATION REAL-TIME GEODETIC STATION SENSOR WEB FOR NATURAL HAZARDS RESEARCH AND APPLICATIONS"
IN33C-1539 · Wednesday, Dec. 5, 1:40 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. · Moscone South Hall A-C
"DEVELOPMENT OF A SYSTEM TO GENERATE NEAR REAL TIME TROPOSPHERIC DELAY AND PRECIPITABLE WATER VAPOR IN SITU AT GEODETIC GPS STATIONS, TO IMPROVE FORECASTING OF SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS"
S53B-2492 · Friday, Dec. 7, 1:40-6 p.m. · Moscone South Halls A-C
"RAPID SOURCE CHARACTERIZATION OF THE 2011 TOHOKU-OKI EARTHQUAKE WITH REAL-TIME GPS AND STRONG MOTION DATA: IMPLICATIONS FOR TSUNAMI WARNING"