Articles | Volume 12, issue 5
Special issue:
Research article
21 May 2012
Research article |  | 21 May 2012

Detecting the 11 March 2011 Tohoku tsunami arrival on sea-level records in the Pacific Ocean: application and performance of the Tsunami Early Detection Algorithm (TEDA)

L. Bressan and S. Tinti

Abstract. Real-time detection of a tsunami on instrumental sea-level records is quite an important task for a Tsunami Warning System (TWS), and in case of alert conditions for an ongoing tsunami it is often performed by visual inspection in operational warning centres. In this paper we stress the importance of automatic detection algorithms and apply the TEDA (Tsunami Early Detection Algorithm) to identify tsunami arrivals of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami in a real-time virtual exercise. TEDA is designed to work at station level, that is on sea-level data of a single station, and was calibrated on data from the Adak island, Alaska, USA, tide-gauge station. Using the parameters' configuration devised for the Adak station, the TEDA has been applied to 123 coastal sea-level records from the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, which enabled us to evaluate the efficiency and sensitivity of the algorithm on a wide range of background conditions and of signal-to-noise ratios. The result is that TEDA is able to detect quickly the majority of the tsunami signals and therefore proves to have the potential for being a valid tool in the operational TWS practice.

Special issue