Innovations in Tsunami Technology
Tsunamis are dangerous natural disasters that affect populations on coastlines and contribute to increases in global poverty. Two teams of researchers in Japan and Australia are looking into new innovations in tsunami technology, hoping to decrease some of these negative effects.

Negative Impacts of Tsunamis on Coastal Populations

The effects of tsunamis can vary depending on their size and location. Tsunamis of a large magnitude can cause extreme destruction to a country’s infrastructure, housing and transportation systems. In poorer nations, where architecture is not as robust, the destruction of buildings can be devastating. In addition, tsunamis can also cause loss of life and increase the spread of waterborne diseases. Moreover, tsunamis can also damage natural resources and water supplies. 

In addition to the safety impacts, tsunamis impose hefty financial costs on nations. After a tsunami, money is necessary to repair the damage and provide support to communities and rescue teams. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (UN OCHA) research found that “Tsunamis account for $280 billion in economic losses over [the] last twenty years.” Nations in states of poverty have a hard time providing monetary aid and require support from external organizations. This is why a single event can cause massive distress within a country, especially those with high poverty rates. 

Warning Systems and Detection in Japan

Japan is an example of a country that suffers from the negative impacts of tsunamis. The nation celebrated World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5th and hopes to use new research to strengthen communication systems and preparedness, to uncover innovations in tsunami technology. The best way to minimize casualties is communication. Once people become aware of a possible tsunami, they can move to safer areas. In addition, Japan has implemented a new system that relies on drones for detection. Earlier detection also correlates with decreased effects because nations can prepare for impact more effectively. Innovations within this field, therefore, have the potential to save human lives. 

Satellite Research in Australia

An Australian research team has published research on the potential for using satellites to map out oceanic activity. This innovation in tsunami technology utilizes atmospheric waves to locate a surface activity that is at risk of causing a potential tsunami. Satellites can also map out paths of tsunamis approaching land. This information can allow countries to anticipate disasters and protect their citizens and infrastructure. 

Benefits of These Innovations

Research in Japan and Australia provides increased preparedness for tsunamis. Innovations in both communication and detection can help countries mitigate the effects of this dangerous natural disaster. Although we cannot prevent tsunamis altogether, these innovations can help decrease fatalities and destruction. 

Both innovations in tsunami technology can be expanded and used globally to decrease negative impacts from potentially deadly tsunamis and minimize negative economic repercussions.

– Hailey Dooley
Photo: Flickr