Tsunami warning hub now in full operation

With the full operation of an advisory center authorized by the United Nations, China started offering tsunami warning services to nine countries in the South China Sea region on Tuesday as the world celebrates the fourth World Tsunami Awareness Day.

Built by China and authorized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the South China Sea Tsunami Advisory Center in Beijing began its trial operation at the end of January 2018.

“Since the trial operation, the capability of the center has been increasingly enhanced,” said Wang Hong, chief of the State Oceanic Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources, as he spoke during the ceremony for the center’s full operation.

He also said the Smart Tsunami Information Process System-which China owns independent intellectual property rights to-has been operating stably since the trial.

The system will beef up tsunami mitigation capability in the South China Sea region.

The center is now hosted by China’s National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center, an affiliate of the ministry.

Yu Fujiang, director of the forecasting center, said the tsunami advisory center is now able to send out warnings only about 10 minutes after the occurrence of an earthquake thanks to the smart system.

With access to real time data from over 600 earthquake monitoring stations-530 of which belong to foreign countries-the tsunami advisory center is able to determine the basic parameters of earthquakes within three to five minutes no matter where they occur in the world, he said.

In addition to the more than 100 domestic stations for water level monitoring, the tsunami advisory center can also share data from over 800 such stations worldwide, he added.

The center will help strengthen the overall Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Tsunami Programme, which ensures global intergovernmental coordination of regional warning systems, capacity development activities and the support of national and regional projects, said Vladimir Ryabinin, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, via a recorded video.

China has provided another important and continuous means of support to sustainable oceanic development by establishing the SCSTAC, he said.

The tsunami advisory center is the third supporting center for the commission’s Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System. The other two are hosted by the United States and Japan.

Its full operation means that the interim tsunami services provided by the Northwest Pacific Tsunami Advisory Center will end. That center, which is hosted by the Japan Meteorological Agency, serves nine countries in the South China Sea region including China, Malaysia and Vietnam.

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